If PCOS diagnosis sounds familiar to you, your doctor may have recommended that you go on the pill to help manage this condition. If you’ve been reading our healthcare posts, you’ll know that that isn’t ideal – you may check it here.
A pill bleed isn’t a real bleed and there are a lot of different areas of your health that are negatively impacted if you don’t have a normal ovulatory cycle.
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It is a common diagnosis, affecting up to 10% of women. The best way to define PCOS is as a group of symptoms that relate to anovulation, which is another way to put ‘lack of ovulation’. In this case, it is accompanied by high levels of androgens or male hormones.
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom of PCOS is irregular periods. Specifically, periods that are late or contain too many days of bleeding.
Anovulatory cycles, or cycles where you don’t ovulate, typically occur with irregular periods. Additional symptoms of PCOS include:
- Hirsutism: excessive growth of hair on your face and body. A little hair on your upper lip is normal. Excess hair on your chin, cheeks, belly and around your nipples is hirsutism.
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
To break it down to basics, PCOS is a problem with ovulation, which then results in the overproduction of male hormones (androgens) such as testosterone. It is normal to have some androgens, but too many are what causes the symptoms of PCOS.
PCOS has also been associated with a long-term increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. It isn’t just a period problem. It is a whole-body hormonal condition that can last for a lifetime if you don’t investigate it further.
Diagnosis of PCOS from Ballarat Naturopaths
If your doctor has told you that you have PCOS, then you need to ask a question – how was it diagnosed?
Contrary to popular belief, PCOS cannot be diagnosed by ultrasound. There are a range of conditions that can cause your ovaries to look like they have many cysts.
After scheduling your appointment with a Ballarat naturopath, you need to meet all the following before you can be diagnosed with PCOS:
- Irregular periods or polycystic ovaries on ultrasound
- High androgens on a blood test or symptoms of high androgens such as hirsutism
- Other reasons for high androgens have been ruled out.
This makes it more obvious what the two main aspects of PCOS are – failure to regularly ovulate and an excess of androgens.