Get important info about PCOS from Dr. Rebecca Fletcher
Dr. Rebecca Fletcher of Athens ObGyn wants women to know more about PCOS, also known as polycystic ovary syndrome or polycystic ovarian syndrome. A hormonal imbalance of male-type hormones (androgens) causes this condition.
High levels of androgens can cause women to have symptoms like acne, male pattern baldness and excessive hair growth on certain parts of the body and the face (hirsutism). Other symptoms can include irregular periods, fertility problems, pelvic pain, being overweight, multiple ovarian cysts and dark patches of skin.
At Athens ObGyn, our physicians expertly diagnose this difficult-to-pinpoint condition
There is no one way to diagnose PCOS. Dr. Rebecca Fletcher says, “I tell patients that the condition is a spectrum. Some patients will have all the typical symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, while others may only have a few subtle signs that they have the syndrome.” Dr. Fletcher and our other physicians diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome when patients meet two of the following three criteria.
- Elevated androgen levels, which doctors can discover through bloodwork.
- Irregular periods, which can mean the patient has skipped the occasional period or not had periods over a long period of time.
- Polycystic ovaries, meaning multiple resting ovarian follicles appear on an ultrasound.
Treatment is individualized to women’s symptoms
Dr. Fletcher says, “Many times, if patients are not attempting to get pregnant, birth control pills are able to control many of the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome, including regulating menstruation, hirsutism and acne.”
If women are having fertility problems, often due to a lack of regular ovulation, treatments can help increase the frequency of ovulation. Dr. Fletcher starts many patients off with lifestyle modifications and adds medications as needed to help with insulin resistance and ovulation.
Lifestyle modifications are important tools to help fight PCOS
“Weight loss is the first step for many with polycystic ovarian syndrome. It helps them return to regular ovulation and to get pregnant. It is also very important for overall health,” Dr. Fletcher notes. “Be active and watch caloric intake. With PCOS, weight issues could become dangerous, making it harder to not only get pregnant, but also creating a higher risk of developing other medical conditions in the future.”
Women who suspect that they may be dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome should contact Dr. Rebecca Fletcher or one of the other experienced physicians at Athens ObGyn