Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Hormones
What happens to my hormones if I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
A common complaint in patients between the ages of 15 and 35 years old at Garden OB/GYN is irregular menses that are inconsistent, intermittent, or prolonged over months or years. There are many different diagnoses that can be causes for irregular menses in women; the most common is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels, particularly male hormones, or androgens, are produced at abnormally high levels. This hormonal imbalance can lead to irregular menses, make it harder to conceive, excessive hair growth, and increased risk for diabetes due to insulin resistance. To diagnose PCOS, patients must have at least two of the following three symptoms: (1) high androgen levels, (2) irregular menstrual cycles, and/or (3) multiple cysts on the ovaries. PCOS can also be confirmed by ultrasound and hormonal bloodwork. It can be managed through diet and exercise, contraceptives (pill, patch, vaginal ring), and/or metformin. Contraceptives and metformin have shown to improve hormonal balance in women, as well as regulating their menstrual cycle. Women who are diagnosed with PCOS and having trouble conceiving can be prescribed a medication called Clomiphene (Clomid) to promote ovulation. For excessive hair growth, various hair removal techniques can be used, including laser hair removal, waxing, shaving, electrolysis, and/or Eflornithine (Vaniqa), a cream to slow hair growth. Our goal at Garden OB/GYN is to diagnosis and manage PCOS through patient education regarding the various management options in hopes of optimizing patient outcomes.