Have you been trying to get pregnant for a while now, but it is showing zero success?
Have you noticed things like having a too-heavy period, facial hair, or being unable to reduce weight no matter how hard you try?
Or perhaps you are a regular on our blogs and know your stuff. You think you might be suffering from PCOS but don’t know where to go from here.
For those of you who don’t know, let’s take a walk, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know. If you could relate to everything we have mentioned thus far, then what to do? Read on to find out.
WHAT IS PCOS?
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a reproductive health condition that occurs in women. Your body starts producing unnaturally high levels of androgens or male hormones. It mainly affects fertile women or, in other words, those in their childbearing years, between the ages 14- 44.
If you are suffering from PCOS, you may get small cysts on the outer edges of your ovaries, hence the name ”polycystic,” but this isn’t the case for every woman.
WHAT IS NORMAL?
PCOS is a reproductive health condition, so it is directly related to the way your period behaves. Let us see what a normal period is and what should get the alarm bells in your head to go off.
Every woman has a different period; you and your mother or your best friend or your colleague might have periods that are completely different from each other.
The most important thing here is to know what is ‘normal’ for you. It is by this parameter that you will judge when something is going wrong for you.
Ideally, you should have an estimated date of when you’re going to have your next period, how long it is going to last, and also be familiar with the flow, its texture, colour, consistency, etc.
There are a few issues that you might be facing, but they are things that shouldn’t be a reason to worry. You might experience these during your periods:
Cramps – If you have already had your first period, then this really isn’t something that you would need an explanation for. We have all experienced cramps in our abdomen or pelvic area during or 1- 2 days before our periods begin. They are a nuisance, but you can go about your day without any major inconvenience. Cramps can often be accompanied by pain in your lower back or inner thighs.
Menstrual cycle – If you have a menstrual cycle that is 21- 35 days long, things are well. After this time, your periods show up to say hello.
Period length- Your periods should last anywhere between two to seven days.
Mood swings – During your periods, your hormonal levels rise and fall, making you experience terrible mood swings.
Period flow – If you change 3-4 pads in a day, your period flow is quite normal. Or if you lose anywhere between 20-70 ml of blood during the seven days of your period, you’re fine.
WHAT ISN’T NORMAL?
It sometimes takes women years to realize that things are not as well as they seem, that they are suffering from PCOS. It is because PCOS has many symptoms and almost all of them could seem like your regular frustrations in life. You might not have all of them. Take a look at a few of these:
Heavy bleeding – If you are suffering from PCOS, you might experience menstrual bleeding that is too heavy. You could bleed more than 80 ml of blood which is nowhere near natural. Or you might be soaking through 7- 8 pads a day.
Menstrual Cycle – Your menstrual cycle becomes too irregular and unpredictable. You can’t tell when your next period is approaching.
Body Weight – Your body weight increases rapidly. Or you might face difficulty in losing your excess weight. This is because PCOS makes your metabolism significantly slower, and food cravings are too hard to curb.
Skin issues – You might have skin that is too oily, produces a lot of acne, and pigments around folds.
Hair – You might start growing thick hair on your face, chest, stomach or other places.
Fertility – Your level of fertility perhaps takes the hardest blow. It becomes significantly low and it becomes harder for you to conceive because of the low level of oestrogen or female reproductive hormone in your body.
PCOS is incurable, it lasts for a lifetime. The best way to live with PCOS is to try to manage its symptoms in the most effective way possible.
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COMMON CAUSES OF PCOS
The research to find the exact cause of PCOS is still on. Experts have not reached any final conclusion yet, but some believe you might experience PCOS due to the following reasons:
- Family history of women who had PCOS
- Increase in your levels of insulin
- Other environmental factors
WHAT TO DO NEXT?
If you have been looking up “PCOS, which doctor to see?” or other things along those lines, you are on the right track. Your next step should be to look for somebody who understands and can treat your symptoms.
The best PCOS treatment is a healthy diet and lifestyle along with PCOS medication from a healthcare professional.
There are so many healthcare professionals out there. Who should you go to? Who would best understand your worries and concerns regarding PCOS? Is there a PCOS specialist doctor? Most importantly, who is skilled enough to handle your case?
These are some of your options:
Your basic health care provider – This is the person you go to when you have a fever, cold or cough. They might not be specialists, but this is a good place to start. You can communicate your concerns with them and they can get you started on the right path. They have connections with other health care specialists that they can recommend to you.
Gynaecologist for PCOS – Your PCOS gynaecologist is the person you go to when you have issues related to women’s health and the female reproductive system. They also specialize in childbirth, pregnancy, treating STIs or Sexually Transmitted Infections, fertility, menstruation, etc. They can prescribe some PCOS diagnosis tests to get you started and also help with the irregularities in your menstrual cycle.
Endocrinologist – This is your hormone specialist. They can help you balance your hormone levels by prescribing medicines. They are considered to be the PCOS specialist since most problems in PCOS arise due to imbalances in your hormonal levels.
Dermatologist – If you have been struggling with skin and hair issues due to PCOS, they are the professionals you need.
Dietician – Obesity has been linked to PCOS in several studies. A good way to manage PCOS symptoms would be to have a healthy, nutritious diet. They can curate a diet for you which works with your metabolic rate and also control your insulin level. They can help you with specific dietary needs your body has.
Psychologist or a Psychiatrist – PCOS, unfortunately, does not limit itself to messing just a woman’s reproductive system, but it also affects them emotionally and mentally. Not being able to conceive or not having a perfect body as represented in the media today can take a toll on women’s psyche. They have higher chances of suffering from depression or anxiety. PCOS has also been linked to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and several other mental health conditions. Consulting a mental healthcare professional may be a really good idea for you if you’re struggling right now.
You’re now equipped with the knowledge to make the best choice for yourself. It is not necessary to see just one doctor or even to see several for PCOS. Do what works for you!
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