It's PCOS Awareness Month and we want to make sure you're getting all the facts! Not all women with PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) will have all of the symptoms listed in this blog and it's important to remember that each symptom can vary from mild to severe. Most women find out they have PCOS in their 20s and 30s when they are having a difficult time getting pregnant. However, PCOS can happen at any age after puberty and symptoms can occur as soon as your menstrual cycle begins.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects your hormone levels and the following symptoms will help you figure out if you are a woman with PCOS. Though how do you know if you have PCOS or not? We are going to review PCOS symptoms that you might be experiencing and if you are, you might want to visit your doctor or connect with women experiencing similar symptoms like in our Private S'moo Facebook Group.
Let's jump in! Here are some of the symptoms of PCOS and what is causing them.
Irregular Periods - PCOS can cause a lack of ovulation and it can change how often you get your period. Every month a follicle matures and gets released by your ovaries to be fertilized. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that changes the balance enough that a follicle doesn't mature or get released. This follicle ends up staying in the ovaries (often referred to as a cyst) and can be seen on an ultrasound.
Another cause of irregular periods can be from high levels of androgens like testosterone which interfere with your menstrual cycle, preventing ovulation. This normally leads to your uterus not being able to shed its lining.
These symptoms vary and some women with PCOS have regular periods every 28 days, while other don't have periods at all or have them every 30-40 days. This is a common PCOS symptom but if you're getting fewer than 8 periods a year, you should talk to your doctor.
Weight Gain - Around 50% of women with PCOS struggle with their weight. This is normally caused from insulin resistance. PCOS actually makes it more difficult for your body to use the hormone insulin, which helps convert sugars and starches from foods into energy. It’s important to remember that studies are done all the time on how to reverse insulin resistance but studies are also done to see how it’s created. One study on healthy men (let’s face it, most of these studies are done on men and not women) tested diets that cause insulin resistance. They found that diets that increase your bodyweight, such as consuming high-carb, high-fat, high calorie foods caused insulin resistance in these men within days.
You can improve your insulin sensitivity with things like more exercise, reduced stress, getting more sleep and eating more soluble fiber (oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables).
Fatigue, Tiredness - Fatigue can be described as feeling run down and tired even after you have rested and not been exerting yourself strenuously. This is a leading symptom of PCOS and it may be caused from an underactive thyroid, low vitamin B12 or vitamin D levels, and anemia (low blood count).
Sleep Disorders - Many women with PCOS report sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea. This can be caused from PCOS because of the high androgen levels and low estrogen levels and increased visceral fat (fat stored in the abdominal cavity near several vital organs) which can potentially contribute to sleep disorders.
Mood Changes - PCOS increases the likelihood of mood swings, depression, and anxiety. It could be from tiredness due to lack of sleep, and/or it could be hormones. If you noticed your moods tend to be like a rollercoaster, especially at certain stages of your cycle, it could be PCOS.
Headaches - Hormonal changes can trigger headaches, and in particular, migraine headaches. Migraines can be so severe that the person is unable to function. Far more women (with and without PCOS) than men suffer from migraines, so we are pretty certain they are hormonally linked.
Hairiness (Hirsutism) - Women with hormonal imbalances such as PCOS will often grow excess body hair - including legs, arms, underarms, and even back, chest, belly, fingers and toes. The most frustrating, normally being the excess facial hair. This is caused from by an increase in hormones called androgens.
Thinning Hair on the Head - Women with PCOS can start to lose their hair in a similar manner to men.
Acne and Other Skin Changes - Everyone gets pimples so this is a hard symptom to judge PCOS off of if you're self diagnosing unless it is paired with other symptoms but whether or not you have PCOS, S'moo has been helping women with their acne.
Abdominal Bloating and Pelvic Pain - This is normally caused by Endometriosis which occurs when cells from the lining of the uterus grow in other areas of the body, like the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder and pelvic area. This can also result in pain during or following sexual intercourse and pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation. Women with PCOS are more likely to experience Endometriosis than other women.
Infertility - This is the main reason women find out they have PCOS because PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. Though it's important to remember that not every woman with PCOS will have an issue getting pregnant and rebalancing your hormones is the solution! We know lots of women with PCOS who have gotten pregnant while taking S'moo as it has rebalanced their hormones. Keep in mind that everyone is different and to keep searching for the right supplements and diet to enhance your chances of fertility.
Rebalancing your hormones is actually the solution to all of the above symptoms. It's amazing what the right supplements will do when paired with healthy lifestyle choices. S'moo was designed to help women with PCOS, created because our founder, Karagan, has been struggling with PCOS since she was 14 years old. PCOS is something we can get through together and it isn't a life sentence. The S'moo babes are here to help spread awareness about PCOS not only during PCOS awareness month but always.
You'll find more information on PCOS here: https://thesmooco.com/blogs/blog/tagged/pcos
Not to mention blogs for PMS and Self-care and more, here: https://thesmooco.com/blogs/blog/tagged/womens-health
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