What in the world is PCOS?
Hey everyone, thanks for taking the time to read this blog. Yes, what in the world is PCOS? This word seems to be making a great deal of buzz in the medical and general community. I think we should break it down from top to bottom.
Let's start with the name itself, PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It literally describes an anatomical aspect of the condition. If you looked at the ovaries with an ultrasound probe, you would see multiple cysts inside the ovaries. And we call it a syndrome simply because we don't fully understand it yet, and so syndrome implies a collection of related symptoms.
This condition is actually common, and affects many females, and having it makes you four times more likely to end up with diabetes.
PCOS essentially has two hallmarks:
(1) Hyperandrogenism, which basically means increased levels of Testosterone (male hormone) in your blood
(2) Insulin Resistance, which means the insulin your body produces is not as efficient at its job as normal people
PCOS has a few common symptoms:
(1) Increased hair growth
(2) Weight gain
(3) Menstrual problems
(4) Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression
Don't panic! Your GP is here to help. This condition is certainly manageable, and there are medications that can help. All you have to do is make an appointment with your GP, discuss your concerns in a safe environment, and come up with a plan in conjunction with advice from your GP. Australia is actually leading the world in PCOS guidelines, with the World Health Organisation adopting those devised by our Aussie doctors.
In summary, PCOS is common, is not fully understood, increases your risk of diabetes, but is manageable.