Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is diagnosed in 10% of adolescents and women, affecting their menstrual periods, potentially causing infertility, and increasing the risk for chronic health conditions. Noreen Kamal-Mostafavi, MD, in Staten Island, New York, has years of experience creating customized treatments that relieve PCOS symptoms and help each woman regain hormonal balance. To get compassionate care for PCOS, call the office or schedule an appointment online.
What causes PCOS?
PCOS develops when you have high levels of two hormones, androgens and insulin. Insulin levels typically rise when you develop insulin resistance. Women naturally have very low levels of androgens, which are male hormones such as testosterone.
When androgen levels increase in women, the excess hormone affects their ovaries. As a result, ovulation and menstruation stop or become irregular.
What symptoms develop due to PCOS?
When you have PCOS, you’ll have at least two of the three primary symptoms:
Abnormal menstrual periods
You may experience heavy bleeding and irregular or frequent periods. You could also stop having menstrual periods.
Pelvic pain due to ovarian cysts
Despite being called polycystic ovary syndrome, you can have PCOS without having ovarian cysts. You can also have ovarian cysts and not have PCOS.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop inside your ovaries during your monthly cycle. In most cases, ovarian cysts last a short time, then disappear without treatment. But if multiple cysts develop or they get too large, you’ll have symptoms such as pelvic pain and bloating.
Symptoms of excessive androgens
When women’s androgen levels are too high, they develop symptoms such as hair loss, acne, and dark hair growth on their face, chest, abdomen, or upper thighs. This excessive hair growth, called hirsutism, appears in more than 70% of all women with PCOS.
Does PCOS cause other health problems?
The hormone imbalances associated with PCOS cause body-wide problems. If you have PCOS, you’re at risk for:
- Weight gain
- Type 2 diabetes
- Metabolic syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
In 25-30% of couples, infertility is caused by a problem in the ovaries such as PCOS.
How is PCOS treated?
After reviewing your medical history and performing a pelvic exam, Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi may perform an ultrasound and order blood tests to check your hormone levels. If she diagnoses PCOS, your treatment is customized to control your symptoms and support your overall health.
Losing weight, if needed, helps to restore normal insulin levels, regulates menstrual cycles, and relieves symptoms such as hirsutism and acne. If you already have Type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to control your blood sugar with diet, exercise, and medication.
The drugs used to treat diabetes and other hormonal medications such as birth control pills often help regulate your menstrual cycle and decrease androgen levels. If you want to get pregnant, Dr. Kamal-Mostafavi develops a plan to restore ovulation using several possible treatments.
If you have symptoms that suggest PCOS, call Noreen Kamal-Mostafavi, MD, or book an appointment online.