Depression. Anxiety. Weight gain. Fatigue. Increased acne and hair growth. Irregular periods. Infertility. Brain fog. Bloating.
These are some of the most notable symptoms of the most common hormonal, metabolic and reproductive disorders found in women: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
So, what is PCOS exactly?
We know those of us with PCOS have too many male hormones, and not enough female hormones, which interferes with many processes in the body producing many adverse symptoms – many times devastating. Our ovaries may be enlarged and may even contain multiple small cyst-like structures (immature ovarian follicles) – hence the name. But not necessarily.
If left untreated, this hormone imbalance can affect everything from your menstrual cycle, to your appearance, your ability to have children and to your overall health. And later in life, to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Unfortunately, this disorder is one of the most misunderstood, under-diagnosed and under-funded conditions affecting women’s health.
However, hope is not lost. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Because you have all the power to heal completely from the symptoms of PCOS.
Here are some interesting facts about polycystic ovary syndrome:
- Women with PCOS have higher rates of anxiety and depression
- 5-10% of women of childbearing age in the United States, or roughly 5 million, have
- PCOS affects 4% to 8% of women worldwide and as high as 25% in some populations, making it the most common hormone problem for women.
- Less than 50 percent of women are properly diagnosed, leaving millions of women living with symptoms that go unsupported.
- Elevated insulin or insulin resistance are not part of the diagnostic criteria for PCOS but are seen in the majority of women with PCOS.
- The diagnostic criteria for PCOS is not helpful. It states that a woman has PCOS if she has at least two of the following three criteria: 1) irregular or absent periods, 2) blood tests or physical signs that show high androgens (male hormones), 3) polycystic ovaries, so this leaves many women without support.
- Signs of hormonal imbalance are more important for PCOS such as: hair growth on the face, hair loss, acne, weight gain, irregular cycles, PMS, hot flashes, brain fog, bloating, etc.
- Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea due to the influence of androgens affecting sleep receptors in the brain.
- Despite its name, not all women with PCOS actually have cysts on their ovaries.
- Women with PCOS have more testosterone and can build muscle easier than women without the syndrome.
- The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in women with PCOS at middle age is 6.8 times higher than that of the general female population.
- A number of studies demonstrate that modest weight loss of 5-10% of initial body weight improves metabolic, physiological and psychological aspects of PCOS.
- Women with PCOS have a higher incidence of gestational diabetes, miscarriages, preterm deliveries, and stillbirths.
- As many as 70% of women with P