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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Contrary to popular belief it is a treatable condition with proper medical guidance. If you think you have PCOS or would like to get expert medical advice on this topic, find best doctors online by using online health services and skip the waiting room at the doctor’s office altogether!

What is PCOS?

Women with PCOS have a hormonal and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. The hormonal imbalance of PCOS may also cause infertility, but with the right treatment conceiving a baby is possible. Signs and symptoms of PCOS often develop around the time of the first menstrual period during puberty. You might develop PCOS later in life, for example, in response to substantial weight gain.

If you have unexplained weight gain and are trying to conceive but with difficulty, you might want to consult your doctor. A quick and convenient way to get medical guidance is through an online doctor app that will instantly help you find doctors online that you can discuss your case with. Data shows that 5% to 10% of women between 15 and 44, or during the years you can have children, have PCOS. Most women are diagnosed with PCOS in their 20s and 30s, when they have problems getting pregnant and see their doctor. But PCOS can happen at any age after puberty.

Who can get PCOS?

Women of all races and ethnicities are at risk of PCOS. Your risk of PCOS may be higher if you have obesity or if you have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.

PCOS signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of PCOS may vary from person to person. A diagnosis of PCOS is made when you experience at least two of these signs:

  • Irregular periods. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of PCOS. For example, you might have fewer than nine periods a year, more than 35 days between periods and abnormally heavy periods.
  • Increased androgen levels. Elevated levels of male hormone may result in physical signs, such as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), and occasionally severe acne and male-pattern baldness.
  • Polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might be enlarged and contain follicles that surround the eggs. As a result, the ovaries might fail to function regularly. These changes can be appreciated on an ultrasound.

If you notice any of these symptoms, talking to your doctor about it would be a good idea. Or you could book a tele-appointment with doctor through an online doctor app called My live doctors. It not only saves time but is lighter on the pocket too! All you have to do is download the app on your smartphone for FREE, look up your doctor and book a doctor appointment online!

Does having PCOS mean you can’t get pregnant?

No. Having PCOS does not mean you can't get pregnant. PCOS is one of the most common, but treatable, causes of infertility in women. In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance may interfere with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). If you don't ovulate, you can't get pregnant. You can talk to your doctor about ways to increase your chances of ovulation and to raise your chance of getting pregnant. You can also use an Ovulation Calculator to see which days in your menstrual cycle you are most likely to be fertile.

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS isn't known. Factors that might play a role include:

  • Excess insulin. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar form food consumed for your body's primary energy supply. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might lead to excess androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
  • Low-grade inflammation. This term is used to describe white blood cells' production of substances to fight infection. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
  • Heredity. Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.
  • Excess androgen. The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.

Diagnosis of PCOS

Your doctor will take a complete history and perform several tests to confirm a diagnosis.

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will measure your blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and waist size. They will also look at your skin for extra hair on your face, chest or back, acne, or skin discoloration. Your doctor may look for any hair loss or signs of other health conditions (such as an enlarged thyroid gland).
  • Pelvic exam. Your doctor may do a pelvic exam for signs of extra male hormones (for example, an enlarged clitoris) and check to see if your ovaries are enlarged or swollen.
  • Pelvic ultrasound (sonogram). This test uses sound waves to examine your ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).
  • Blood tests. Blood tests check your androgen hormone levels, sometimes called "male hormones." Your doctor will also check for other hormones related to other common health problems that can be mistaken for PCOS, such as thyroid disease. Your doctor may also test your cholesterol levels and test you for diabetes.

Treatment of PCOS

You can manage certain symptoms at home and try to improve them. For instance, try adopting a healthier lifestyle to facilitate weight loss. Losing weight will normalize your insulin levels blood glucose levels. It will also lessen inflammation. For excess body/facial hair you can try hair removal creams, laser hair removal or electrolysis at treatment centers.

Other than this your doctor might prescribe certain medications like birth control pills (for irregular periods) and anti-androgen medication among others to help with symptom relief. If you don’t have access to a healthcare provider you can find doctors online at Work out a treatment plan with your online doctor today for a healthier tomorrow!