Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

With 20 years of experience, Dr. Scumpia provides diagnosis, treatment and management of all types of hormonal disorders, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder of young women. It is a multisystem disease, hence it is essential to assess all aspects of this disease, whether it is a primary ovarian problem or it is of adrenal origin.

PCOS causes irregular menstrual periods, excessive body hair, and fluid filled cysts in the ovaries. Women with PCOS have higher male hormones in their body and higher insulin levels with less sensitivity to insulin. The disease runs in families. Although PCOS does not have a cure, a variety of treatments may alleviate the symptoms.

If the diagnosis is made early, and you receive good care, fertility is possible.

Symptoms

  • Irregular or missed periods
  • Infertility
  • Excessive or unwanted facial and body hair
  • Thinning of the scalp hair
  • Weight gain, especially around the waist
  • Skin problems including acne and darkening of the skin and skin tags

Complications

  • Prediabetes and Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart and blood vessel complications
  • Uterine cancer
  • Sleep apnea
  • Infertility Diabetes


Treatment

  • First, you need a good check-up to make the proper diagnosis (ovarian origin or adrenal origin)
  • Then you need a thorough assessment for the presence of complications
  • Life style changes, diet, exercise, avoidance of irritants
  • Birth control pills
  • Insulin sensitizing medications
  • Androgen (male hormone) blocking agents
  • Topical and antihair growth medications
  • Excess hair treatments
  • Treatments for hair loss
  • Acne treatments

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia is a condition which can cause PCOS as secondary issue, and affects 6-8% of women. It is very important to rule out CAH when you have PCOS, since you might require a genetic test to protect your future off springs in the event you conceive with a partner who has the gene as well.  Since men do not have any clinical evidence of this disease, they might be silent carriers.

CAH is caused by an enzyme block at the adrenal gland which does not allow the normal progression of the hormone formation which then is diverted into the male hormone and then causes the ovaries to be filled with cysts.


FAQs

Have I done something wrong for me to have PCOS?

No, PCOS is a genetic condition. Lifestyle can aggravate PCOS, but it cannot cause it.

How do I know if I have CAH?

Your endocrinologist will perform a stimulation test of your adrenals, a simple test with no complications, that indicates for sure whether you have it or not.

I was told that if I have PCOS I will never have children.

FALSE: with proper medical care, many women can have successful pregnancies

I was told that my child can die at birth if I have PCOS.

FALSE: this refers to a very rare condition of the adrenal gland, hence have a thorough diagnosis before treatment. Even you have the adrenal problem, genetic tests exist now that prevent your child to have problems.

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