North Valley Women's Care
OBGYNs & Aesthetic Center and Wellness Spa located in Glendale, AZ
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects roughly 2-26% of women of reproductive age and is widely underdiagnosed. At North Valley Women’s Care in Glendale, Arizona, Melissa Austin, MD, and her team specialize in diagnosing and managing PCOS and infertility that often comes with it. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book online today.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a women’s health condition that interferes with the process of ovulation. Ovulation happens monthly when your ovaries release a mature egg ready for fertilization. With PCOS, your ovaries produce a higher-than-average amount of male hormones (androgens), which can prevent ovulation and instead cause fluid-filled cysts on the ovaries.
There are three criteria for diagnosing PCOS: high androgen levels, cysts on the ovaries, and irregular or skipped menstrual periods. The team at North Valley Women’s Care evaluates you with a physical exam and pelvic exam and may perform a few other tests to make a diagnosis. They use blood tests for hormones and ultrasound imaging tests to view the ovaries.
Experts aren’t sure what causes PCOS but suspect that it runs in families. Additionally, insulin resistance seems to correlate with PCOS. However, not everyone with PCOS is insulin-resistant.
What are the main symptoms of PCOS?
PCOS comes with a large variety of symptoms that vary among individuals with the condition. For the most part, symptoms of PCOS develop because of the higher androgen levels in your system. This leads to common signs of PCOS like:
- Male-pattern baldness
- Facial hair growth
- Excess body hair growth
- Weight gain, especially in the abdomen
- Skin tags
- Dark or thick patches of skin
With PCOS, you likely either rarely get periods or never get them at all. If you experience any issues with menstruation, you should come to North Valley Women’s Care for a gynecological examination.
What are my treatment options for PCOS?
PCOS treatments aim to reduce symptoms and regulate ovulation. The team at North Valley Women’s Care considers the severity of your symptoms and any plans you have for future pregnancies before creating your individualized PCOS treatment plan. It might include:
Hormonal birth control
Hormonal birth control helps lower the levels of androgens in your system and can regulate your menstrual cycle. It also helps regulate ovulation.
Diet and habit changes
Changing your diet and habits can help minimize some of the effects of PCOS. In fact, reducing your body weight by just 5-10% can regulate your menstrual cycle, improve insulin resistance, and ease symptoms like headaches and abnormal body hair growth.
Medications for specific symptoms
The team at North Valley Women’s Care might prescribe other medications specifically for individual symptoms like acne or hair growth.
If you’re interested in getting pregnant, the North Valley Women’s Care team can help you explore fertility treatment options too. If this is the case, hormonal birth control will not be a part of your treatment plan for the time being.
To schedule an appointment for exceptional PCOS care, call North Valley Women’s Care or book online today.