What to Ask Your Doctor About PCOS
What to Ask Your Doctor About PCOS
Learning that you may have polycystic ovarian syndrome can be unnerving. PCOS can have implications throughout your reproductive years that can affect not just your hormone levels, but your general health. Not sure what you need to know? Be sure to ask your doctor these questions:
1. What is your treatment plan for my PCOS?
There are a number of strategies that can be used to treat women who have PCOS. Your and your doctor’s strategy will depend on whether you are trying to conceive and other factors. Ideally, your doctor will ask you about your concerns and your treatment goals. By learning about these, your doctor can help craft a treatment plan that involves you both.
2. Is my thyroid gland healthy and functioning normally?
Studies have shown that as many as one in five women who have PCOS also have subclinical levels of hypothyroidism. When the thyroid gland is not producing the levels of thyroid hormones that it should, it can make symptoms of PCOS worse. Hypothyroid symptoms include fatigue, menstrual irregularities, weight gain and hair loss. Luckily, it is easy to supplement with thyroid hormone if your body does not make enough of it.
3. Am I at risk for diabetes?
PCOS is very closely associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Even worse, insulin resistance can cause you to gain weight, which can exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Between 50 and 70 percent of all women who have PCOS have some level of insulin resistance.
Your doctor should order a glucose tolerance test to see how well your body processes sugar. You should also be able to work with your doctor on a diet that can help battle insulin resistance and PCOS symptoms.
4. How are my cholesterol levels?
Women who have PCOS are also at risk for high cholesterol. Experts recommend that women with PCOS be assessed at least eveyr two years to ensure that their cholesterol levels are normal. Since both PCOS and high cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease, it is very important to make sure your levels are healthy. We can give you the information you need to make informed decisions about your health and your diet.
5. Are there any other health concerns that I should be aware of?
PCOS doesn’t just cause havoc with your periods and your fertility. It can be linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well. By taking proactive steps like following an exercise routine, taking supplements when necessary and following a PCOS diet, you can reduce these risks and protect your health.
6. Can I get pregnant?
If you have PCOS and you want children, it is best to discuss this earlier rather than later. In women under 35 who have PCOS, it is relatively easy to conceive once your symptoms are controlled and you are ovulating normally. By taking a proactive stance, you can increase your chances of conceiving successfully.
Proper PCOS treatment is needed to keep your hormones in balance and to avoid complications that can include diabetes and heart disease. Conventional treatment for PCOS typically involves hormonal birth control pills and other medications that target specific symptoms.
We like to take a more comprehensive approach. Research shows that lifestyle changes don’t just tackle PCOS symptoms but can significantly reduce your levels of insulin resistance and androgen levels. We work with you to help you attain a healthy weight, develop stress management habits, eliminate endocrine disruptors and create a daily diet that works for you. These daily habits can help you manage symptoms effectively or even experience full remission of PCOS.
Have you been diagnosed with PCOS? We want to help. Get in touch today to make an appointment.