PCOS

icon of female reproductive organs

It is estimated that between five to ten percent of women of childbearing age have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). While very common, PCOS remains undiagnosed and unmanaged in most people who have it. If you are experiencing irregular periods, excess hair growth or acne (or both) and infertility, it is time to share your symptoms with your physician at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare. 

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects women during their reproductive years. This disorder happens when your body produces more male hormones than normal.

Who gets PCOS?

You can get PCOS at any age following puberty, but most women find out they have PCOS in their 20s and 30s when they have difficulty getting pregnant.  All women are prone to PCOS, but your risk may be higher if you’re obese or have a family history of PCOS.

How do I know if I have PCOS?

PCOS symptoms vary from woman to woman, but they often include noticeable changes to your body or menstrual cycle. Common signs and symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular, unpredictable menstrual periods
  • Skipped or infrequent periods
  • Periods that occur too frequently
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Excess hair on the face, chest, or abdomen
  • Thinning hair on the scalp
  • Oily or acne-prone skin
  • Patches of thickened, darkened skin
  • Multiple fluid-filled sacs, or cysts, on the ovaries
  • Trouble getting pregnant, or infertility

Weight gain and difficulty losing weight are other common symptoms of PCOS. Up to 80% of women with PCOS are obese.

Can I still get pregnant if I have PCOS?

In women with PCOS, the hormonal imbalance interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries (ovulation). If you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.  But having PCOS does not mean you can’t get pregnant. Your OB/GYN at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare can discuss ways to help you raise your chances of getting pregnant.

Is PCOS linked to other health problems?

Untreated PCOS can be devastating and develop a chain reaction of more health problems including:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Severe liver inflammation
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Endometrial cancer

How is PCOS diagnosed?

There isn’t a simple test for PCOS, and it’s often not picked up unless it’s causing noticeable symptoms. The team at Louisiana Women’s Healthcare begins by looking through your medical history and asking about your current symptoms. Your physician may perform one or more of the following tests:

  • Pelvic exam to check for enlarged ovaries
  • Ultrasound imaging to look for ovarian cysts
  • Blood tests to check your hormone levels

How is PCOS treated?

There is no cure for PCOS. However, there are ways it can be treated.

Medications exist to control the hormones that are the culprit of PCOS. Your doctor will work with you to decide the best medication to treat your symptoms.

Other ways to treat symptoms of PCOS include:

Expert treatment for PCOS in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The physicians of Louisiana Women’s Healthcare know that living with untreated PCOS can be devastating for a woman. If you or someone you know is struggling with PCOS we can help. Schedule a visit with one of our physicians today online, through MyOchsner, or by phone (225) 201-2010.