Women's Health

Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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It’s Not Just About Your Periods. Yes, irregular and absent periods are a classic hallmark feature of PCOS but its only one part of the condition. PCOS is a syndrome. This means it easily overlaps and intersects with other areas of the body. While PCOS does cause reproductive problems and can affect ovulation, it’s also associated with metabolic issues. Understanding polycystic ovary syndrome is highly crucial. 

You May Be At Risk for Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Metformin and oral contraceptive pills are two of the most common medications used to treat PCOS. What many don’t realize is that both of these medications can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12.

A deficiency of vitamin B12 is serious as it can result in permanent neurological and nerve damage. Common symptoms in those with a vitamin B12 deficiency include mood changes, fatigue, and numbness or tingling in their arms, fingers, legs, and feet.

Understanding polycystic ovary syndrome comes with its own complications but can be handled with care. If you take either of these medications, you should supplement vitamin B12. In addition, ask your doctor to check your vitamin B12 level which can be done with a blood test, to see if your levels are normal.

You May Suffer From Mood Disorders

As if women with PCOS don’t have enough to deal with, they are also at a higher risk for mood disorders. Anxiety, depression, and bipolar depression have been shown to be more common in women with PCOS. Mood disorders may be more prevalent in PCOS women due to hormonal imbalances. On the other hand, PCOS is an extremely frustrating condition. Dealing with the metabolic, reproductive, and dermatological symptoms (weight gain, hair growth, hair loss) can have a significant impact on mood.

You Can Get Pregnant

Yes, PCOS is the main cause of ovulatory infertility. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. There have been new advancements in reproductive medicine over the past decade aimed to help women with PCOS conceive. One of these advancements is the use of letrozole, which has been shown to be more effective than Clomid for ovulation induction in PCOS women and the dietary supplement inositol, which can aid in improving egg quality and restore menstrual cycles.

Your Milk Supply Can Be Affected

It’s not conclusive, but it has been suggested that women with PCOS could have more difficulty producing an adequate milk supply to breastfeed their children. Part of the reasons why this is could be related to the hormone imbalance of higher androgen and insulin levels, which may interfere with milk production.
One thing that is for sure is that diet and lifestyle are the primary treatment approaches for PCOS. A healthy eating plan, regular exercise, supplements, sufficient sleep, and stress management all work together to improve your fertility and optimize your health. Not sure where to start or need help? Consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in PCOS for understanding polycystic ovary syndrome

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