PCOS 101: Let's Talk about the Hormonal Condition You May Have

PCOS 101: Let's Talk about the Hormonal Condition You May Have

 bFaith Leonard

Over the past few years, there seems to have been a surge in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
diagnoses. A 2023 Endocrine International Society meeting confirmed that the number of cases continues
to increase, with up to 10% of the female population now formally diagnosed with PCOS. This is largely
thanks to improved access to more clinical resources and research, allowing healthcare professionals to
understand the condition. That said, the opposite is true for laypersons.

While most doctors can now easily spot PCOS among patients, most women struggle to recognize the
condition. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 70% of women with
PCOS remains undiagnosed. While totally manageable, PCOS does have serious and chronic implications,
which is why it’s important for women to have a better grasp of this condition.

What is PCOS?
PCOS is a relatively common hormonal disorder that affects up to 1 in 10 women of reproductive age.
This condition occurs when a woman’s androgen levels are higher than what is medically deemed normal.
In terms of the cause of PCOS, this remains unknown, although many doctors think it has to do with
lifestyle and genetics.

Many times, women tend to think that PCOS only has to do with menstruation and fertility, but in reality,
its impact is far wider. Apart from causing irregularities with periods and conceiving a child, PCOS can
also affect a woman’s physical appearance and increase the risk for serious diseases. Specifically, a recent
report on PCOS complications reveals that women with the condition are more likely to develop heart
disease and diabetes down the line. In many cases, PCOS manifests as excessive body hair, weight gain,
male pattern baldness, acne, and unpredictable menstruation. The fact that there is no concrete PCOS
trigger and symptoms can be subtle (or not present at all) is largely also why many women don’t realize
they have it until later in life.

PCOS 101: Let's Talk about the Hormonal Condition You May Have

Is it curable?
Unfortunately, there is no present cure for PCOS as a whole. That said, several management methods
have been proven effective. Chief among these are prescription medications that address key PCOS
symptoms. Case in point, obesity and being overweight occur in about 80% of PCOS patients. This is
concerning because while there is no one “healthy” body, chronic obesity can cause serious issues like
hypertension, stroke, and fatty liver. As such, PCOS weight loss medication is a common component in
many patients’ care plans. Using medications like Metformin, patients’ insulin resistance is regulated,
thereby making it easier for them to shed extra pounds and avoid the aforementioned weight-related

Apart from oral medications, there are also topical treatments prescribed for PCOS. For instance, many
patients are told to use acne-fighting creams for PCOS, like clindamycin. These typically come in cream
or gel forms that control bacteria on the skin’s surface. This can help prevent hormone-caused breakouts
from worsening.

PCOS 101: Let's Talk about the Hormonal Condition You May Have

Life with PCOS
Although PCOS can be scary, and it should be taken seriously, that doesn’t mean your life has to be
anything but happy and healthy. What’s important is you find professional help to address this diagnosis,
should you have it, so your recovery can begin. For many women, even just targeting one aspect of PCOS
can result in significant improvements. To illustrate, studies in BMC Medicine note that even losing just
5% of your initial total body weight can already alleviate many PCOS-related issues. That said, even if
you don’t have PCOS, it pays to invest in positive lifestyle changes like eating a balanced and ethical diet, exercising more, and stressing out less. This way, you can reduce your risk for PCOS and improve your overall wellness.

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the following content is a collaborative postand the opinions expressed therein are solely those of the author. 

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