PCOS? How can you recognize it?

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What do you know about PCOS? Have you heard about it but you are not interested? Do you think it is a condition which affects only overweight women and, as it is not life-threatening, you don’t have to bother about it?

Some women get very worried, other ones often underestimate this disorder. Here, we want to deal with facts.

One woman of child bearing age out of 10 suffers from PCOS.

It is one of the most difficult syndromes to diagnose and almost 50% of women don’t know they have it.

The onset of diabetes may occur before 40 years in 50% of PCOS women, and the risk of endometrium cancer may be three time higher in women with PCOS compared to healthy ones. Moreover, the risk of serious cardio-vascular diseases is from 4 to 7 times higher.

PCOS involves hormones and metabolism. Now, more punctual studies have shed some light on the issue, but in the past, it was considered to affect only the ovaries. Although you don’t have to be afraid, PCOS is a serious condition you must face, in order to safeguard your health now, and prevent complications in the future.

Do not underestimate the following signs and, in case, see your doctor:     

  • irregular, unpredictable or missing period (of course you are sure you are not pregnant);
  • acne, and pimples on chin and shoulders
  • extra growth of thicker hairs on unusual places for a woman, such as the lips, chin, back, gluteus, breast, lower belly, nipples;
  • significant hair loss on the forehead which you think is not due to the ordinary seasonal loss
  • patches of dark brown skin under the neck, you can’t wash away even with a very careful cleansing. It is called Acanthosis nigricans and it is associated with insulin resistance.

Along with the previous symptoms, you also have to take into serious consideration the excessive need of eating something sweet (associated with a sense dizziness or faint) when you go on a diet and you can’t lose any weight. Difficulties in conceiving a child is another meaningful sign.

Moreover, PCOS may also affect your emotional and psychological condition: anxiety, depression, sleep trouble, fatigue.    

Have you recognized yourself in this description? That’s what you may do: see your doctor who will write a prescription for a deeper medical investigation- first of all, a gynecological and/or endocrine visit will diagnose the disorder and will provide you with a tailored set of treatments. Then, you will, have to improve the quality of your life by a balanced diet and some healthy exercise.  

No “self-diagnosis”; you must always ask a specialist for advice. Being afraid of suffering from something serious (and PCOS is not that!) is not the best thing to do; taking care of yourself and getting better is!

About Stefania Cattaneo

I am Stefania Cattaneo and I am a Nutritionist Biologist. I have always been fond of sports and nutrition most of all related to the women. I work in my private office near Turin, there I see every sort of patients with really different problems and needs. Actually, I mainly deal with sports people and women who suffer from hormonal ailment linked to the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. I'll do my best to widen your knowledge (and mine as well) about this hard, difficult awkward but fascinating topic: PCOS.

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