Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) FAQ
Common PCOS Questions
- If I have lots of small cysts on my ovaries do I have PCOS?
- Are there other health problems associated with PCOS?
- Can I be “skinny” and still have PCOS.
- What treatments are available for PCOS?
- Why do I have this disease?
- What can I do to treat PCOS?
If I have lots of small cysts on my ovaries do I have PCOS?
Not necessarily … up to 20% of women have polycystic appearing ovaries but do not have PCOS. Remember, you need 2 out of the 3 above criteria.
Are there other health problems associated with PCOS?
Although still somewhat controversial, many experts believe women with PCOS do appear to be at higher risk for other metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol especially as they age. Screening for these conditions may be warranted based on your family history, weight, and other clinical considerations. If you are overweight and have PCOS these risks appear to be even more elevated.
Can I be “skinny” and still have PCOS.
Yes. Although most PCOS patients are obese up to 30% are not. The relationship between obesity and PCOS is unclear but it does appear to exacerbate the symptoms associated with PCOS.
What treatments are available for PCOS?
The answer to this question depends on the goals of the patient. Please remember that your treatment will be individualized based on your specific situation and that the below treatment information represents general guidelines.
Women who want to achieve pregnancy usually benefit from oral and / or injectable medicine to achieve ovulation. If you fail to achieve pregnancy with these treatments you may want to consider IVF for infertility treatment. Many women are also placed on Metformin, medication that helps control glucose levels.
For women who don’t desire pregnancy and want to better control their menstrual cycles, treat their hirsutism, and prevent endometrial hyperplasia, oral contraceptives with or without metformin are an excellent choice.
Why do I have this disease?
The cause of PCOS is not known although genetics and the metabolism of insulin appear to play a role.
What can I do to treat PCOS?
Dietary and lifestyle modification are perhaps the most important element to treating PCOS. Regular cardiac and strength training along with healthy eating, and when indicated, weight loss can produce dramatic improvement in your symptoms. For most people, the ideal weight relative to your height, or body mass index (BMI), should be between 19-24 (green area below).
Body Mass Index Chart
Find your height on the left column and your weight across the top to identify your current body mass index
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