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Information on PCOS

Understanding PCOS

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash


What is PCOS and what does it stand for?

PCOS aka PCOD stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Polycystic Ovarian Disorder a treatable but not curable disease which causes a woman's period to come less than it should or causes it to last longer than normal due to the amount of androgen, a male hormone, because of this small cyst form on the ovaries creating other unwanted problems such as: being overweight, infertility, acne, facial hair, depression, anxiety, loss of hair, and male features. If PCOS isn't treated it can cause endometrial cancer because you're not shedding the uterine lining every month as well as diabetes, and autoimmune thyroid disease.

Diagnosis

PCOS is usually diagnosed by doctors if you have high androgen levels, irregular periods, and cysts on the ovaries. Most doctors ask if you've had acne, weight gain, dark skin in the creases of the body like neck, groin, and under your breast, along with  facial hair growth, and body hair growth (Hirsutism). My doctor ran a blood test on me but you can request to have a pelvic exam which they do internally to feel if you have any cysts on your ovaries or you can have a pelvic ultrasound (Sonogram) which is also internally done from what I understand.

Medications Prescribed for PCOS

Photo by Pina Messina on Unsplash

Unfortunately, doctors don't know how you get PCOS, but they know how to make the situation somewhat better by prescribing you one or both of these medications Metformin or birth control to help keep PCOS under control.

Metformin aka Glucophage

Metformin is a prescription used to treat diabetes, but can be used to help lower blood sugar when PCOS has made you insulin resistant which was the case with me. While it did aid me in weight loss, it also had some very common negative side effects such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and gas to name a few. 

Metformin has also been known to cause lactic acidosis due to the build of the medication. Metformin comes in an extended-release form which has about the same side effects as the immediate release. Both can cause B12 deficiency after long use but people who are vegetarians and have a gut disease are more likely to experience this sooner. 

Birth Control

While I wasn't prescribed birth control I did do some thorough research on them. Birth control contains a synthetic hormone which covers your regular hormonal pattern forcing your period to come as expected. From the reading I did, there are two types of oral contraceptives combination pills and Progestin-only.

Combination Pill

Combination pills have estrogen and progestin in them both of which are synthetic hormones related to the ones your ovaries produce you can choose to have high or low dosage your doctor will help you decide which is right for you.

Progestin-Only Pill aka Minipill

Progestin-Only, only have progesterone in them which increases your progesterone causing you to have a normal period cycle. Even with birth control, there are negative side effects like weight gain, headaches, depression, and cancers.

Hair Removal Prescriptions

I read there's a hair removal prescription called Vaniqa which can slow hair growth in unwanted places you could also have laser hair removal or electrolysis if chosen.

Progesterone

Progesterone (which I was given) is prescribed when you haven't had your period for awhile it replaces the missing natural Progesterone causing you to begin your period it's considered hormone replacement therapy.

Summary

To put everything in a nutshell doctors don't know where PCOS comes from it might be hereditary or could be linked to other genes it's treatable, but not curable even when menopause happens but there are medications to make PCOS more manageable along with some side effects. If PCOS isn't taken care of, it will cause serious health problems one of them being endometrial cancer, doctors can diagnose PCOS using a variety of methods other than blood tests.

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