Are you having difficulty getting pregnant? Do you have irregular periods? Are you overweight and have a hard time losing weight? Are you insulin resistant? Then it’s possible you have PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
PCOS can cause reproductive problems and can affect ovulation. It’s also associated with metabolic issues. Women with PCOS are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and cardiovascular disease. Insulin resistance is present in as many as 70% of women with PCOS regardless of weight, and is a main contributing factor to these metabolic issues.
Unfortunately, PCOS can cause Erratic fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. Those fluctuations can cause blood sugar levels to plummet. Low blood sugar can cause unpleasant side effects like headaches, dizziness, irritability, and anger, also known as “hangry” (anger brought on by hunger). Insulin acts as an appetite stimulant that prompts us to eat more carbohydrate-rich foods. But you can fight cravings by spreading carbohydrates out evenly throughout the day. You can lose weight by eating more protein, getting regular exercise, and taking insulin-lowering medications and supplements.
Two of the most often prescribed medications, Metformin and oral contraceptive pills, can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12. A deficiency of vitamin B12 is serious as it can result in permanent neurological and nerve damage. Common symptoms in those with a vitamin B12 deficiency include mood changes, fatigue, and numbness or tingling in their arms, fingers, legs, and feet. If you take either of these medications, you should supplement vitamin B12. In addition, ask your doctor to check your vitamin B12 level which can be done with a blood test, to see if your levels are normal.
Not only do women with PCOS have weight issues and infertility, they also have hair loss and acne. Hair loss is a significant concern women with PCOS suffer from. Worrying about constantly thinning hair and the possibility of baldness later in life is alarming and flat out terrifying. But there is something that helps. The medication spironolactone can show a remarkably noticeable difference in slowing or preventing hair loss. In addition, changes in diet can help with hair loss and acne. Higher levels of testosterone are typically to blame for the return of acne. Changes to your diet and androgen-blocking medications can help to reduce the appearance of acne.
Many women with PCOS also suffer from mood disorders. Anxiety, depression, and bipolar depression have been shown to be more common in women with PCOS. Mood disorders may be more prevalent in PCOS women due to hormonal imbalances. On the other hand, PCOS is an extremely frustrating condition. Dealing with the metabolic, reproductive, and dermatological symptoms (weight gain, hair growth, hair loss) can have a significant impact on mood. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or body image, consult with a mental health professional to help you. In addition, The PCOS Workbook: Your Guide to Complete Physical and Emotional Health, has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and problematic eating in women with PCOS, and could be a helpful resource.
While the major issue with PCOS is infertility, it is possible to become pregnant. There have been new advancements in reproductive medicine over the past decade aimed to help women with PCOS conceive. One of these advancements is the use of letrozole, which has been shown to be more effective than Clomid for ovulation induction in PCOS women and the dietary supplement inositol, which can aid in improving egg quality and restore menstrual cycles.
Research has also shown that a change in diet and an increase in sustained, regular exercise are both beneficial in treating the condition. Midwest Fertility Center is proud to offer infertile couples a new program designed to improve the overall well-being of our patients through stress management and other methods. If these non-surgical approaches do not work, we can use certain surgical procedures to restore proper ovarian health.
Arrange an appointment with Midwest Fertility Center to discuss polycystic ovarian syndrome ( PCOS) with one of our specialists.