Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is more common than you think. It affects up to 1 in 10 young women but as many as 70% of women may remain undiagnosed.
PCOS results from a combination of lifestyle and genetic factors. Genetic factors we can’t control but lifestyle factors we can and at TMG we are all about empowering our patients to improving their health outcomes by altering their lifestyle!
The name ‘Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome’ is misleading – did you know you do not need to have ‘cysts’ on the ovaries to be diagnosed with PCOS? If you have irregular periods, signs of excess male type hormone such as acne, excess body hear or scalp hair thinning – talk to one of our GPs. You should not be started on the pill to ‘regulate your periods’ or treat your acne without the diagnosis of PCOS first being considered.
Insulin resistance is the bad guy in PCOS, responsible for most of the symptoms and complications. Insulin is a hormone that tells our bodies to turn the calories we eat into energy for our muscles. Women with PCOS tend to be insulin resistant so their body’s cells are not responding normally to this hormone. As a result they may find it easy to gain weight and difficult to lose it! They also get increased production of male type hormone by the ovaries and adrenal glands resulting in acne and excess hair growth. The ovaries often have plenty of healthy eggs which are unable to be released in ovulation as the follicles do not mature, leading to irregular periods and difficulty falling pregnant. Eventually, insulin resistance can lead to diabetes and later heart disease. Did you know the risk of developing diabetes is 7x higher in PCOS?
The best way to manage symptoms of PCOS and reduce insulin resistance is with a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Our GPs can prescribe medications to help with the insulin resistance and other symptoms but it all starts with you…