Have you been trying to conceive, but month after month experience the emotional heartache of not getting pregnant? Or you’ve styled your hair to cover embarrassing hair loss. Being diagnosed with any illness or disease can be scary, but with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, it can feel devastating.
Often called the “Thief of Womanhood,” Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects as many as 1 in 5 women, and 70% of women with PCOS don’t even know they have thy disorder.
High levels of androgen hormones in women with PCOS can cause irregular cycles, acne, excess facial and body hair growth, and male-pattern hair loss. If left untreated, there is a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Do other women in your family have PCOS? There is a genetic maternal and paternal link to PCOS if a family member has had PCOS, irregular periods, or diabetes.
Feeling frustrated by a misdiagnosis or unwanted answers? Misdiagnosis is common, as there is no single test for PCOS, and no two women are affected in the same way. Some women may not recognize the symptoms of PCOS, and others may experience missed or irregular cycles, unwanted facial hair or excess hair growth.
A diagnosis should be made using the “Rotterdam criteria”. PCOS is indicated if any 2 out of the following 3 criteria are met and other entities
To be diagnosed with PCOS by the Rotterdam criteria, a woman must have two of the following three manifestations:
- Irregular or absent ovulation
- Elevated levels of androgenic hormones
- Enlarged ovaries containing at least 12 follicles each Studies suggest that transvaginal ultrasound detects PCOS in about 75% of women with PCOS
** Other conditions with similar signs, such as androgen-secreting tumors or Cushing’s syndrome, must be ruled out.
Find a reproductive endocrinologist who will test you, as a base line for:
- blood pressure
- Fasting glucose
- Hemoglobin A1c
- Fasting lipid profile
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) Luteninizing hormone (LH), Free testosterone, Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). They should also test androgens DHEA, DHES and Androstenedione
- Estrogen levels
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) should be checked, as many women with PCOS have low thyroid.
- 25-hydroxyvitamin D – Many women with PCOS have low Vitamin D levels
- B12 level – Many women with PCOS have low B12 levels
Becoming a PCOS Diva
There is hope! The journey of diagnosis may be frustrating, frightening and never-ending, but so many women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can reduce their systems to live active, normal, healthy lives, and many women discover they can have children.
As a dedicated Certified PCOS Health Coach, I support women to become PCOS Diva’s through clean and healthy eating, meal planning, exercise, stress reduction, positive thinking, natural treatments and self-care.