• Excess insulin: Insulin is the hormone produced in the pancreas that allows cells to use sugar, your body’s primary energy supply. If your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then your blood sugar levels can rise and your body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
• Low-grade inflammation: This term is used to describe white blood cells’ production of substances to fight infection. Research has shown that women with PCOS have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
• Heredity: Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.
• Excess androgen: The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.
There is no single test to determine if a woman has Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Our doctors make the diagnosis when women have two or more of the following symptoms:
• Irregular or infrequent periods.
• Symptoms of high male hormones (acne, increased body hair, and scalp hair loss) or high levels of male hormones on blood testing.
• Cysts on the ovaries seen on a sonogram.
Two other hormonal abnormalities can have very similar symptoms — Cushing’s syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. It is important to rule out these diseases with blood testing and sometimes saliva testing.
See your doctor if you have concerns about your menstrual periods, if you’re experiencing infertility or if you have signs of excess androgen such as worsening hirsutism, acne and male-pattern baldness.
Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.
Losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle and improve PCOS symptoms, weight loss can also:
• Improve cholesterol levels.
• Lower insulin.
• Reduce heart disease and diabetes risks.
Any diet that helps you lose weight can help your condition. However, some diets may have advantages over others.
A low glycemic index (low GI) diet that gets most carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains helps regulate the menstrual cycle better than a regular weight loss diet.
Exercise is even more beneficial when combined with a healthy diet. Diet plus exercise helps you lose more weight than either intervention alone, and it lowers your risks for diabetes and heart disease.
• They will talk to you about your symptoms and medical history.
• They will ask about your family’s medical history.
• They will take your weight and blood pressure.
• They will perform a physical exam, looking specifically for excess facial hair, hair loss, acne, discolored skin and skin tags.
• They will perform a pelvic to look for swollen ovaries or other growths in your uterus.
• They will order blood tests to check hormone levels and glucose levels.
• They will perform a pelvic ultrasound to look for cysts in your ovaries and check the thickness of the lining of your uterus.