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*Disclaimer, I am not a professional doctor of any kind. This article is solely based on my experience and what I have learned from my doctor. If you feel like you have PCOS, talk to your OBGYN for more information.* 

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS is a medical condition that affects hormone levels in women. Many women do not know they have it (like myself), or it is commonly misdiagnosed. Here are 7 things you should know about PCOS and why it is important to talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms. 

Common signs and symptoms

The following are signs of PCOS which include:

– Irregular menstrual periods which can mean a variety of things: absent periods, periods that occur infrequently or frequently, heavy periods etc. 

– Infertility- If you are trying to conceive, PCOS is one of the most common causes of fertility problems.

– Severe acne or acne that happens after teenage years which does not get better to treatments

– Obesity

– Excess hair growth on the face, abdomen, chest and upper thighs which is called hirsutism. 

– Oily skin 

– Small fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries 

The Causes

There is actually not enough research to know the exact cause of PCOS, but it can be related to a few factors which include increased levels of hormones (androgens), irregular periods and insulin resistance.

Insulin Resistance

What does it mean to be insulin resistant with PCOS? Well women with PCOS tend to produce too much insulin which can impact our ovaries and can lead to producing testosterone. The best way to control the insulin levels is to change the way you consume food. *See number 6

Genetics Play a Huge Role

If any women in your family have PCOS, or if they have irregular periods or diabetes this may be the case you may have it.

The Diagnosis

There are a few tests your doctor can do to help with your diagnosis. 

– Blood tests can be performed to check for increased levels of testosterone (androgen), cholesterol, prolactin, thyroid- stimulating hormone, insulin levels, gland hormones and glucose tolerance. 

– Pelvic exam are done to see if your ovaries are swollen or enlarged

– Pelvic ultrasound are checked to see if there are any cysts on the ovaries

Treatment

There are no treatments to entirely get rid of PCOS, however there are many things you can do from making it worse. 

Birth control pills– now every woman’s body reacts differently when it comes to birth control. However, it does help to give you more estrogen and progesterone. At the same time, it can make your menstrual cycle regular, improve your acne and excessive hair growth. I personally use Sprintec and so far it has worked well for me. Make sure to talk to your doctor and see what is right for you.

Diet- Losing weight will help your PCOS. Eating a balanced diet full of rich fiber and vegetables is important to manage your weight. It is best to avoid high refined carbs, processed foods and sugar. 

Focus on your Mental Health

When I first got diagnosed with PCOS in January, I was terrified because I did not know what it was. However it all made sense because I have all the symptoms and now I am feeling a lot better than I ever have. 

Your PCOS does NOT define you! 

First generation Assyrian woman who is a California native. After living in NorCal all her life, she currently resides in SoCal attending UC San Diego as a Communications major in pursuit of a Bachelors Degree. Her goal is to eventually receive a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism and land her dream job as a News Anchor. Her interests include fitness, makeup, music, social media and video production. Follow Mary on instagram (@marymikaili).
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