You’re not alone if you have polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. This disorder can cause a number of symptoms, and our Dallas PCOS experts often see women in our offices who are experiencing irregular or absent menstrual periods, ovarian cysts, excessive hormone levels and infertility. Although these symptoms can be frustrating, our physicians offer treatments that can improve them.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
Although the symptoms vary, our Dallas PCOS experts will diagnose a woman with the disorder if she experiences at least two out of three symptoms.
- Irregular, infrequent, prolonged or absent periods are the most common sign that a woman has PCOS. Some women may have less than nine periods in a year, while other patients may have abnormally heavy periods that last longer than the average period.
- Excessive levels of hormone known as androgen can cause excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), acne and male-pattern baldness.
- Polycystic ovaries can lead to problems with ovarian function and infertility.
Weight problems are often associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, and the symptoms of PCOS tend to be more severe if a woman is overweight or obese. Other problems that occur with the disorder include infertility, metabolic syndrome, pregnancy complications, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, depression and anxiety.
Diagnosing and treating PCOS
There is no definitive test to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome, but our Dallas PCOS experts will often start with a discussion of your medical history, including the regularity of your periods and any history of infertility. They may also conduct a physical exam to check for signs of the disorder, a pelvic exam to look for any abnormalities in the reproductive organs, blood tests to assess hormone levels and an ultrasound to examine the ovaries and uterine lining.
If the test results indicate that a woman has polycystic ovary syndrome, treatment will focus on managing specific concerns, such as infertility, obesity, acne, and hair growth. These treatments range from lifestyle changes to medication.
- Lifestyle changes, including eating a low-calorie, complex carbohydrate diet and engaging in moderate physical activity, can lead to weight loss. Losing just 5% of your body weight and increasing muscle mass can lead to improvement in symptoms.
- Medications for women who are not trying to conceive include birth control pills and other medications to regulate estrogen levels and decrease androgen production. By regulating hormone levels, these medications can improve the symptoms of PCOS.
- Medications for women who want to conceive are designed to help a woman ovulate. These include Clomid, Letrozole and injectable gonadotropins. Our Dallas PCOS experts may use these medications alone or in conjunction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). In some cases, they may also prescribe Metformin to improve insulin resistance and lower insulin levels.
Each woman is different, so our Dallas PCOS experts will work to create an individualized treatment plan that is designed to help each patient overcome her symptoms and improve her fertility.
Contact us to schedule an appointment with our Dallas PCOS experts and learn more about polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis and treatment.