Taking a Pregnancy Test When You Have PCOS: What to Know
What is PCOS?
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects up to 10% of women. It’s characterized by excess hair growth in the ovaries, irregular periods, infertility and other health problems such as diabetes mellitus type 2 or insulin resistance. The condition usually develops before age 20 years.
The symptoms of PCOS are different from each woman. Some women have no symptoms at all while others experience some of them only after menopause. Women with PCOS may suffer from obesity, acne, irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain and infertility.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there is no cure for PCOS but lifestyle changes can improve its severity and quality of life.
Symptoms of PCOS vary depending on the person. However, they include:
Weight Gain – PCOS patients tend to gain weight over time. They may become obese due to high body fat percentage and low muscle mass. Obesity increases their risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 or insulin resistance.
Weight loss is not always possible in cases where PCOS causes weight gain.
Acne – This is a result of increased androgen or male hormones in women. It may also cause excess hair growth in the face, chest, back or abdomen. While acne can be treated with medication, it tends to worsen over time.
Eventually it can lead to permanent scarring. Women who have had acne since their teens are more likely to have moderate to severe scarring.
Infertility – Hormonal imbalances make it hard for women with PCOS to get pregnant. Most will have their first period at age 11 or 12. They may have irregular periods during their teens and 20s.
About 50% of women with PCOS won’t be able to become pregnant due to an absence of ovulation. The rest will have periods that are unpredictable or absent.
Irregular Periods – Women with PCOS often experience heavy bleeding during periods. It may be difficult to predict when their period will start.
Thinning Hair and Hair Loss – While male hormones make women put on weight, they also cause thinning hair. This happens gradually over time. It is most common on top of the head but it can occur in beard area of women too.
Obesity – Extra weight puts them at a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and arthritis.
Sleep Apnea – Women with PCOS are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. This is a condition where a person briefly stops breathing while asleep. It happens when the throat muscles relax to block the airway.
Another symptom is snoring while sleeping.
Diabetes or Prediabetes – 10-18% of women with PCOS may develop type 2 or insulin resistance diabetes. The rest will have higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Glucose Intolerance – Glucose enters the cells with the help of insulin. If you have high blood glucose levels, your body may not be producing enough insulin or not using it efficiently. While this can lead to diabetes, it doesn’t in most cases.
Thyroid Disease – PCOS patients are more likely to develop thyroid disorders such as underactive and overactive thyroids.
Inflammation – It is a common occurrence in PCOS patients. The chronic inflammation can increase the risk of many diseases and conditions.
Hypertension or High Blood Pressure – Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure. This increases their risk of many other diseases and health issues.
Obesity and overweight are risk factors for developing hypertension. They can also worsen its severity. Losing weight can help lower blood pressure in PCOS patients.
Work with your doctor to find out the best treatment.
Sleep Apnea – This medical condition shortens breath while asleep. The brain will briefly stop the breathing process. This is a common disorder and in most cases, it is never diagnosed or treated.
Sleep apnea increases the risk of many other diseases and health conditions.
Uterine Cancer – Overweight women are more likely to develop endometrial cancer. This is one of the types of cancer that occurs in the female reproductive system. It also has links to obesity and being overweight.
Losing weight can reduce your risk of uterine cancer.
Depression – While this isn’t a medically diagnosed condition, it is very common among women with PCOS. It is commonly referred to as “PCOS Depression” or “Low-grade depression.” It causes a low mood, loss of interest in hobbies and constant tiredness.
Treatment of PCOS
The cause of PCOS is still unknown. There are no known cures available yet but there are steps you can take to manage the symptoms. The goal of treating PCOS is to reduce the risk of developing health issues and to lower the risk of potential complications.
Combination birth control pills are a common treatment. They suppress menstruation and reduce androgen hormone levels. Metformin is another common drug used to treat PCOS.
Over time, it can help reduce insulin resistance and increase the ovaries’ production of testosterone.
Over-the-counter medications can also help with certain symptoms of PCOS. Medications such as anti-depressants can be used to manage depression.
Exercise can also be very beneficial for PCOS patients. It helps lower blood pressure, it can help with weight loss and it can also help reduce overactive and underactive thyroids.
Losing weight and keeping it off is a very common treatment for PCOS patients. Weight loss can reduce insulin resistance, chronic inflammation and excessive testosterone production. It can also help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Treating PCOS is a common struggle for many women. It can have a negative impact on your self-esteem, your relationships and your career potential. Proper treatment can help improve your quality of life and keep you in good health.
Living with PCOS
There are many treatments and management techniques available for PCOS patients. However, many women choose not to use these options. Some women may find that these treatments have worse side effects than PCOS itself.
Others will find that they are discouraged by the slow progress of research and development in this field.
If you decide not to treat your condition, there are still some steps you can take to manage your condition. Losing weight, quitting smoking and regular exercise can improve your overall health. You can also talk to your doctor about learning more about managing your condition and taking steps to prevent potential complications in the future.
Living with PCOS is completely manageable. You will most likely find that your symptoms start to become less severe as you get older. It’s important to stay positive and to remember that there are many women out there going through the same thing as you.
Try to join online support groups and read blogs from other women with PCOS. This can help you feel much more positive about your condition.
One last piece of advice is to always prioritize your health. You may have plans to start a family in the future or dreams of becoming a professional dancer. While it is very important to have goals, it is also essential that you take care of your overall health.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms, do not wait to seek medical attention. Your doctor will help determine the best treatment plan for you.
Living With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Guide To Manage And Treat Your PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome, commonly referred to as PCOS, is a very common hormonal disorder that primarily affects women of reproductive age. PCOS causes a wide range of symptoms, including irregular or lack of menstruation, hirsutism (unusual facial or bodily hair growth), and obesity, among others. While PCOS can lead to long-term complications if left untreated, it is a highly manageable condition.
In most cases, lifestyle changes and modern medicine can help women manage their condition and lead long, normal lives. The following information will help you understand more about this condition.
What are the Symptoms of PCOS?
There are a wide range of symptoms that may indicate that you have PCOS. The most common symptom of PCOS is chronic ovulation disorder. This means that, for some reason, your body has a very hard time releasing an egg each month. Instead of the normal 21-day menstrual cycle, women with PCOS may find that they only menstruate every few months. Other symptoms of PCOS may include:
Irregular or lack of menstruation
Infertility or inability to carry a pregnancy to term
Skin problems, such as acne or dark patches of skin in folds, commonly on the neck, behind the ears or between toes
Stubborn belly fat, or difficulty losing weight, even with high levels of exercise
Unusual hair growth, including facial hair and painful cysts
How is PCOS Diagnosed?
Sources & references used in this article:
What Nurses Know… PCOS by K Roush – 2010 – books.google.com
Understanding PCOS, the Hidden Epidemic _ by HDYKI You, P Have – mynewsletterbuilder.com
You have to have polycystic ovaries to have PCOS (1) by CBD RANGE, H RANGE – 3sixtybiomedicine.co.za
PCOS explained: what happens in your body when you don’t ovulate by J Cabrall – josephinecabrall.com