Living with Diabetes and PCOS
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a concern that can affect many different aspects of a woman’s life. These can include the chance of having children, the heart, blood vessels, hormones, during your period and even the way that you look. Most women that are diagnosed with PCOS miss their periods and have no set schedule, may have small cysts on the ovaries or could have a high level of androgens. These are male hormones but yes ladies, you do make them as well. Females can be diagnosed with the condition at the tender age of eleven and it is diagnosed in between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 females for those that are old enough to have children.
The cause of PCOS is not known. It is possible that genetics could play a factor in the process as many women who are diagnosed also have a family member that has been diagnosed as well. Diabetes can play a role in the diagnosis due to insulin. Those with too much insulin in their bodies can have an increased production of androgen. This can result in symptoms of gaining weight, acne, strange hair growth and even problems with ovulating.
There are many symptoms of PCOS that women should be aware of. They include acne, dandruff, thinning hair or even baldness, gaining weight, skin tags, pain in the pelvic area, depression, irregular periods, not being able to get pregnant, sleep apnea or patches of skin that become thick, black or dark brown. Although many of the signs and symptoms are also relative to other conditions, it is important to speak with your doctor if you are having trouble getting pregnant, experiencing pain or a combination of other symptoms. It is important to have a diagnosis as early as possible in order to prevent further damage.
As women with diabetes get older, there is a higher risk for other complications. When you hit menopause, there is an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. If you have not already been diagnosed with diabetes it is possible that the older you get the more your chances are of being diagnosed. Naturally we tend to have hair growing from strange places and maybe even lose our hair as we get older. However, being mindful of these symptoms can help you to be diagnosed early and start a treatment plan.
In order to be diagnosed, your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your family history. They will also do a physical and pelvic exam as well. You will need to have your blood pressure checked, your waist size measured for your body mass index and to see if your ovaries are swollen or have cysts. Blood work may be done also. There are several ways to manage PCOS but no treatment. You may be prescribed birth control pills, changes in your diet, different types of diabetes medications and even fertility medications. Surgery may be an option depending on the severity of the cysts. It is important to follow your regimen in order to avoid further health risks such as heart attack, bad cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
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