There are numerous reasons why women may struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Many factors contribute to weight gain such as a poor diet and lack of exercise but 1 in 10 women are affected by a condition called PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Often, PCOS goes undiagnosed for an extended period of time as it shares the same symptoms as other women’s health issues. Women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones and are insulin resistant which leads to serious complications. What should you know so you get diagnosed before your weight exceeds healthy levels?
Complications To Watch For
Common symptoms include irregular periods, infertility (due to poor ovulation), hair growth, and unusual weight gain. Often, women will go on a diet plan to reduce calorie intake or increase the frequency of exercise to overcome the weight gain but continue to gain weight. Additionally, excess hair growth may take place on the face, chest, stomach, and back.
The underlying problem in women with PCOS is that it makes it difficult for the body to use insulin. Insulin difficulties where glucose is not properly absorbed from the bloodstream lead to a condition known as insulin resistance.
The production of male hormones increases when insulin levels are high which causes weight gain to happen in the abdominal area since this is triggered by male hormones. Excessive fat in the abdominal area increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes, endometrial cancer, sleep apnea, and heart disease. How can you avoid additional health complications?
Diagnosis & Accurate Treatment
Signs of polycystic ovaries in patients can start from the adolescent years to post menopausal depending on the type and severity. The key is to get diagnosed early through patient symptoms, a vaginal ultrasound, and lab tests. Specific treatments for each symptom are available through Kristi and Dr. Mac to control your hormones and weight. If left untreated after a diagnosis, women with PCOS can expect to gain 60 pounds over the next 10 years!