What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?

 

Although one in ten women are diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), many people are unaware of this condition. I was once one of these people, that is, until I was diagnosed with it.

Unbeknownst to me, my journey with PCOS began in high school. During this time, my periods became more irregular, my hair began to thin and fall out in large amounts. I chose to believe that this was due to the stress caused by SAT tests, AP classes, and applying to colleges. I did not know that these were some of the common symptoms of PCOS.

The cause of PCOS is unknown, but its symptoms are common among the women who have it. As noted in Healthline, women with PCOS typically have high levels of male hormones called androgens, missed or irregular periods,and small cysts in their ovaries. If left untreated, it can cause serious damage to a woman’s health.

The Office on Women’s Health states that PCOS can affect a woman’s  heart, blood vessels, and blood sugar levels.  Because of this, women with this syndrome are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer,and obesity. Typically, when women are diagnosed with PCOS, their doctors order a series of blood tests in order to check that their blood sugar and cholesterol levels are normal. Based on these results, doctors may prescribe different types of medications.

One of the scariest symptoms of PCOS is the lack  of regular menstrual cycles. Women with PCOS do not ovulate as often and this may lead to infertility. When I was diagnosed with PCOS and my doctor informed me of all of the possible health risks, this is the one that scared me the most. I know that one day I want to start a family and now I wonder if I will ever be able to.

However, my doctor assured me that with the right medication, I could induce ovulation in order to one day have the ability to become pregnant. Women with PCOS who want to have children can discuss with their doctors the different options they have. Although this condition makes it harder to have children, it does not mean it is impossible.

PCOS can also affect women’s self-esteem because it can affect their physical appearance. Women with PCOS are more prone to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain, and thinning hair. I experience all of these symptoms and I must tell you that it is not fun. Looks are not everything, but it does not feel good to see new pimples form every day and to see your hair fall out in large amounts when you are in the shower. These symptoms can lead to emotional stresses, such as depression and anxiety.

PCOS can lead to very serious health effects so it is important that people become aware of this condition.A friend or family member of yours might have this syndrome and not even realize it. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you talk to your doctor about testing you for PCOS.  PCOS can be a hard condition to deal with, especially because not many people know about it, but there are support groups that can help women with this syndrome. With the right help and support, women with PCOS can lead happy and healthy lives.

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