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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome - PCOS


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a surprisingly common disorder in women of reproductive age, although many are not aware of it. Most women first become aware of PCOS when they don't menstruate for a long time, tend to gain weight easily, have acne, and get excess body hair. When they want to have children, they have difficulty getting pregnant. PCOS is basically a hormonal disorder, with too much male hormone and too much insulin.

Women with PCOS often have multiple ovarian cysts that may be symptom-free, or may become painful. An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac usually found on the surface of an ovary.

The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is very complex and not well understood. There's a genetic component. Chronic stress, nutrient deficiencies, and excess consumption of animal foods and refined carbohydrates may all contribute to the development of PCOS.

Women with PCOS have increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, and estrogen-associated cancers including breast and endometrial cancer.

Conventional treatment is quite limited, usually consisting of birth control pills and a drug called Glucophage, which helps to reduce insulin. Both of these medications have side effects in some women. The effect is mainly to manage symptoms, without trying to deal with the underlying causes.

In order to become pregnant, PCOS women often resort to in-vitro fertilization, in spite of its tremendous cost. Even then, these women have a lower probability of becoming pregnant, and a higher probability of miscarriage.

PCOS symptoms are quite variable. PCOS is a complex "metabolic syndrome" involving a disorder of multiple hormones exacerbated by "thrifty genes" that make weight loss extremely difficult. Symptomatic therapy with drugs is not the answer.

A better approach is to have a thorough diagnostic workup, including a complete hormonal lab profile. The workup would be followed by a comprehensive treatment program, possibly including: (bio-identical ("natural") hormones customized to the needs of each individual; (supplements and herbs that help to balance hormones; (precise nutritional guidance, including a "low-glycemic" diet; (exercise - a vigorous exercise program may also be required in order to get desired results; and (5) stress management, because excessive stress hormones are a major contributor to PCOS.

PCOS is one of the most emotionally troubling diseases because many women report that they don't feel like they are women anymore. They can't have babies, are too hairy, have acne, and are overweight. Our physicians are skilled in providing emotional support as part of the clinic's overall program to effectively deal with PCOS.