“PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is an endocrine disorder that affects over 7 million women.  That’s more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined.”  – Louise Chang, MD

September marks PCOS Awareness Month and presents an opportunity to raise worldwide public awareness of polycystic ovarian syndrome.  It is also an opportunity for women diagnosed with PCOS to get clear information and support through educational resources and outreach.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a health condition that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance.  While the cause is still unknown, the main underlying problem of PCOS is a hormone imbalance from the ovaries making too many androgens or male hormones than they are supposed to (Please note that the female body is supposed to make androgens!).  High levels of these hormones affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation.  Researchers also believe that insulin (a hormone that controls the change of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body to use or store) is also linked to PCOS.  It is common for women who have PCOS to have increased levels of insulin which appears to also increase the production of androgen.

Symptoms of PCOS:

  • Infertility *PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.
  • Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods
  • Increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
  • Cysts on the ovaries
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Pelvic pain
  • Skin tags (excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
  • Sleep apnea
  • Anxiety or depression

What You Can Do:

There are of ton of ways to bring awareness to PCOS during the month of September and thereafter – join the Facebook page, attend one of their worldwide events, do the #lemonfacechallenge, donate money, volunteer your time, and so much more!  Click here for more information.

Do any of these symptoms sound all too familiar?  At UNC Fertility, we have the knowledge and expertise in treating PCOS.  For more information, please call us at 919-908-0000.


Resource: http://www.pcosaa.org/