It is currently estimated that one in 10 women of childbearing age havePCOS, and it is one of the leading causes of infertility. In my practice, we are helping women learn more about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with PCOS Awareness, a screening program for this hormonal disorder.
PCOS is the presence of many small, undeveloped follicles on the ovaries that form cysts. These cysts can disturb hormone cycles (causing more male hormone to be produced) and cause ovulation problems.
It is not known what causes PCOS, but it is linked to many other health conditions, such as being overweight; diabetes; issues with insulin resistance, metabolism and glucose tolerance; sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease. The syndrome is seen among all ethnicities of women, but it is more common in Hispanic women, with an incidence rate of 13 to 14 percent compared to 5 percent in Caucasian women. Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity/weight gain/inability to lose weight, breathing problems while sleeping, depression, oily skin, infertility, skin discolorations, high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, excess or abnormal hair growth and distribution and multiple ovarian cysts. Some women have only a few symptoms, while others have several.
The good news is that if a woman with PCOS changes her lifestyle by making changes to diet and exercise, she will not only feel better, but also she will increase her chances of conception by 10 percent.
The first step, however, is to obtain a diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there is no single test to definitively diagnose PCOS. That is why it is important to have a thorough evaluation to help rule out other conditions such as adrenal or thyroid disease. To accurately confirm the diagnosis of PCOS, women must meet two of the three following diagnostic criteria:
- History of irregular or absent menstrual cycles and/or no ovulation
- Hirsutism and/or high levels of male hormones (androgens)
- Ultrasound evidence of polycystic appearing ovaries using specific medical criteria
We are now offering the PCOS Awareness screening. For the screening, you will come in for an appointment during days two through four of your menstrual cycle in which you will:
- Complete a brief questionnaire and have your Body Mass Index (BMI) evaluated
- Have blood drawn to evaluate your hormone and glucose levels
- Receive a transvaginal ultrasound to visualize your ovaries
Within one week of your PCOS Screening appointment, you will:
- Receive the results of your screening including my evaluation and treatment recommendation
- If your PCOS screening uncovers any abnormalities, I will advise you to schedule an appointment for further consultation, physical examination and/or additional testing (as required)
To arrange an appointment, please call our FCI call center at 877-324-4483. The call center will help determine the best day to come in for your testing.