For a start, PCOS can disrupt the menstrual cycle. This affects general health because having regular periods during child-bearing years is important to prevent osteoporosis and maintain the protective effects of estrogen and progesterone on the body.
Older women are also affected by PCOS. The condition can make post-menopausal women vulnerable to osteoporosis, too, along with an increased chance of type 2 diabetes and heart-damaging metabolic syndrome. Younger PCOS sufferers also share an increased risk of these latter conditions.
A complete evaluation by a doctor includes a physical examination, checking for insulin resistance, a fasting lipid profile, a glucose test, a check on hormone levels and an insulin test. A blood sample is very informative for testing elevated thyroid and prolactin levels. If these tests come up positive, doctors look for an altered FSH-to-LH ratio and increased levels of androgens. A pelvic ultrasound is sometimes suggested. It can be possible to see the pearl-necklace pattern of cysts from PCOS on some women’s ovaries.
If there is any abdominal pain or pressure around the ovaries, an evaluation is certainly necessary. In most cases, a woman will be monitored on a regular basis to make sure her cysts are not at risk for rupture.
If you have PCOS or think you do, take heart in realizing there are many things you can do to alleviate or even reverse your symptoms naturally, without drugs. Like any condition related to hormone imbalance, taking the right steps to improve your lifestyle via nutrition and regular exercise can help to restore you to good health.