So what is PCOS?
Women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) excrete excessive amounts of male hormones (mostly testosterone). It is important to note that polycystic ovaries are a symptom or sign of the problem, not the cause. Therefore, some women, may have very few, if any, cysts on their ovaries. PCOS is not a disease in the sense of a single health problem, but instead, a combination of various symptoms that share an underlying cause.
Symptoms of PCOS
Irregular periods (which means the body is not ovulating - therefor extremely difficult to get pregnant), excessive hair growth on face and body, scalp hair thinning, acne, excess weight, sugar cravings, inability to lose weight, darkening of skin (particularly on the nape of the neck), skin tags, gray-white breast discharge, sleep apnea, pelvic pain, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, and other emotional disorders. Some women have only a few symptoms, while others have most every symptom. The symptom severity can also vary from woman to woman. A PCOS diagnosis should be made by a doctor.
What causes PCOS?
The following causes are the most commonly proposed among health professionals:
- A defect in the hypothalamus leading to exaggerated LH pulses that stimulate the ovaries to secrete more than normal amounts of male hormones
- A defect in the ovarian production of testosterone and other male hormones due to abnormal enzyme action on the pathways leading to testosterone
- High insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) as a result of insulin resistance, which further strengthens the effect of LH on the ovaries.
- Genetic causes: 40% of women with PCOS have a sister with PCOS and 35% have a mother with PCOS
No. But you can control the symptoms to the point of being symptom-free.
So for me finding out I had PCOS meant that it was going to be very difficult for us to get pregnant on our own. We were frustrated at first but relieved to find out there were several options, starting with a simple medication to help my body ovulate on its own. The chances of it working in the first month aren't the greatest so we weren't expecting anything to happen right away. But a miracle happened and after only one month of taking medication we were pregnant! I think we were both a little shocked it happened so quickly but definitely thankful for the miracle! When I decided to take the medication the doctor said one of the side effects was twins! While we would have been very grateful for that, I can thankfully say there is only one little growing bean inside me!!!