To start, you may be asking what does PCOS stand for?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and is a common condition in teenage girls and adult women. PCOS is a hormone imbalance where in addition to producing estrogen (dominant female hormone), women and girls also produce small amounts of testosterone (dominant male hormone). This hormone imbalance can lead to a variety of uncomfortable menstrual and reproductive infertility conditions.
What causes PCOS?
The cause of PCOS is still widely undetermined, but it’s considered to be a combination of factors, including genetics. Because of this, many women with PCOS likely have a mother, sister, or close relative with PCOS as well.
What are the signs and symptoms of PCOS in young teens?
Symptoms that present themself as early as the teenage years include:
- Irregular menstrual periods. Meaning you get your period more than once a month, every few months, or never have one at all.
- Periods that are very heavy or very light. Contrary to popular belief, your flow should not be excessive in either direction.
- Unwanted hair growth on your face, chest, back, hands, or nipples.
- Heavy acne.
- Thinner hair; specifically on your head.
- Weight problems; specifically excessive and quick weight gain.
How do I know for sure if I have PCOS?
To determine if you have PCOS, your doctor will do a physical exam as well as review your overall health, current medications, and menstrual cycle.
To be 100% sure, your doctor might order blood tests to check hormone levels. Depending on the results, they may even do a pelvic exam or order an ultrasound test to check the ovaries and uterus for ovarian cysts, which are fluid-filled bubbles and common with PCOS patients.
How do I treat PCOS?
- Lifestyle changes; including less sugar, daily exercise, and avoiding smoking/alcohol.
- Medication to balance hormone levels; such as birth control pills, a vaginal ring, or a skin patch.
- Treatment for unwanted body and facial hair, such as bleach, wax, medicines, shaving, electrolysis, or laser treatment.
Will PCOS affect whether I can get pregnant in the future?
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