Can You Cure PCOS? Essential Things to Know
Let’s assume your Ob-Gyn told you that you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which may affect your well-being as a woman. Don’t worry, you are not alone. According to Women’s Health, there are over 5 million women in the United States who may be affected by this hormonal disorder. With PCOS, women typically have missed, excessive or irregular periods, numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in their ovaries, and high levels of androgens.
As all these are said to have a significant effect on your menstrual cycle, fertility, and increased hair growth on the face and body, you surely want to help yourself deal with it naturally. Here are some of the things that often help you cope with PCOS.
PCOS Treatment – Is this really possible?
Certain lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are considered to be the first-line treatments especially for teenage girls and women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). For one, pharmacologic treatments are reserved for so-called metabolic derangements, such as anovulation, hirsutism, and menstrual irregularities. Medications for such conditions include oral contraceptives, metformin, prednisone, leuprolide, clomiphene, and spironolactone.
Since hormonal imbalance is found to be its primary cause, changes in your weight and metabolism can be also a reason. A PCOS-friendly diet requires food high in protein, fiber, and ample amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Consume fruits, vegetables, cereals, oats, whole grains, lean meat and even healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital for weight management and fertility.
One question remains: Is there really a way to get rid of PCOS?
It is important that all the symptoms of PCOS to be addressed and managed in a long-term way. Remember that PCOS is a long-term condition and long-term management is essential.
Depending on the symptoms you experience, management of PCOS can include:
- lifestyle modifications – increasing your physical activity levels and eating a healthy diet can both help to manage PCOS;
- weight reduction – research has shown that even 5 to 10 percent weight loss can provide significant health benefits;
- medical treatment – with hormones or medications.
Among the three, weight management may be the best medicine. Obesity doesn’t cause PCOS in women, but there’s a significant overlap between the two conditions. The theory is that obesity contributes to insulin resistance, which boosts androgen levels and can make PCOS symptoms worse. Likewise, oral contraceptives can relieve symptoms by regulating your menstrual cycle and hormone levels.
In October 2013, the Endocrine Society released practice guidelines for diagnosing and treating PCOS. The following were among their conclusions:
Use the Rotterdam criteria for diagnosing PCOS (presence of 2 of the following: androgen excess, ovulatory dysfunction, or polycystic ovaries).
In adolescents with PCOS, hyperandrogenism is central to the presentation; hormonal contraceptives and metformin are treatment options in this population.
Postmenopausal women do not have a consistent PCOS phenotype.
Exclude alternate androgen-excess disorders and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, endometrial cancer, mood disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea.
For menstrual abnormalities and hirsutism/acne, hormonal contraceptives are first-line treatment.
For infertility, clomiphene is first-line treatment.
For metabolic/glycemic abnormalities and for improving menstrual irregularities, metformin is beneficial.
Metformin is of limited or no benefit for managing hirsutism, acne, or infertility.
Overall, thiazolidinediones have an unfavorable risk-benefit ratio.
More investigation is needed to determine the roles of weight loss and statins in PCOS.
Sadly, there is no cure yet, but there are many ways you can decrease or eliminate PCOS symptoms and feel better. Your doctor may offer different medicines that can treat symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, excess hair, and elevated blood sugar. Fertility treatments are available to help women get pregnant. Losing as little as 5% excess weight can help women ovulate more regularly and lessen other PCOS symptoms. The ideal way to do this is through nutrition and exercise.
You may feel that it is difficult to lose excess weight and keep it off, but it is important to continue the effort. Your efforts help reduce the risk of developing serious health complications that can impact women with PCOS much sooner than women without PCOS. The biggest health concerns are diabetes, heart disease, and stroke because PCOS is linked to having high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol.
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