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Her Health: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

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September is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness month.

PCOS is a condition that only occurs in females. It is driven by high testosterone and includes irregular periods and cosmetic changes including extra hair on the body and face, acne, male pattern hair loss, and infections on the skin. It can be diagnosed a year after your first period.

One of the most difficult conditions stemming from PCOS for women is infertility, which is challenging regardless of the cause. However, great advances continue to be made for treatment in this field. The other most common complaint is excess weight gain, that is hard to lose. Women with PCOS also suffer from higher rates of depression. Regardless of weight, women with PCOS have an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea.

Dr. Melanie Green, Director of the Multi-Disciplinary PCOS clinic, said two main goals in treating PCOS is to address the top concerns that the patient has at the visit. She said wants to make sure that they have a plan to keep the uterus healthy; either by making sure they are having regular periods or taking hormones to keep the lining of the uterus thin and healthy.

'I tell my patients that it may take us up to a year with visits every 3 months to figure out the best way to treat their personal PCOS,' Green said.

'Women with PCOS have not been well cared for, in part due to lack of education and varied guidelines,' Green said.

She continued, saying 'It takes on average 2.5 years and over 3 doctors visit to get a diagnosis. If you think you have PCOS, don’t give up. We need patient advocacy and support to help move the needle to have more funding for trials for women with PCOS. I highly encourage women to get involved with PCOS advocacy groups, who can also present them with a lot of good information.'

If you believe you may have PCOS, visit your doctor.

If you are already diagnosed, visit for more resources.

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