PCOS, also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a health condition that affects millions of women across the United States. If you have recently visited your OB doctor and been diagnosed with PCOS, you might be confused and concerned with what the condition entails. Get to know some important facts to know when you have been diagnosed with PCOS so you can be better prepared for what is to come.
You Don't Have to Have Cysts to Have PCOS
One of the most surprising aspects of PCOS to be aware of is that you do not have to have cysts on your ovaries to be diagnosed with PCOS. Even though the word cyst is in the name, you can be diagnosed with the condition based on other criteria. A person with PCOS may be diagnosed because of irregular or absent periods/ovulation, high testosterone levels, and other symptoms that can be diagnosed even if no cysts are found on their ovaries. This disorder is an endocrine disorder and has to do with hormone levels and other factors in the body.
PCOS Is a Leading Cause of Infertility
Another fact to be aware of with PCOS is that it is a leading cause of infertility in women of child-bearing age. Now, this does not necessarily mean that you will struggle with your fertility. Some women with PCOS have little to no trouble conceiving naturally. However, many others do have difficulties and require fertility treatments and other interventions to be able to have a child. Others still may not be able to conceive at all. If you hope to have children one day, you will want to talk to your OB/GYN as soon as possible before you plan to start trying. They can give you some guidance as well as go over your treatment options in detail.
PCOS Is Associated with Numerous Other Health Issues
It is important to know that PCOS is also associated with a number of other health conditions in addition to the symptoms it causes on its own. Many women with PCOS develop type 2 diabetes, for example. Part of this is because PCOS can cause insulin resistance, which means that the body cannot properly utilize the insulin that it produces. More insulin has to be released to control blood sugar and eventually, insulin can become ineffective entirely. This, in turn, can lead to diabetes. Other health conditions that can be associated with PCOS are sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other issues. It is important to get to your doctor regularly to discuss any symptoms you are having as well as to have regular checkups to ensure you are as healthy as possible.
Now that you know some of the important facts about PCOS, you can be better prepared to work with your medical team to manage and control the condition as well as possible.