Affecting 5-10% of women, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is the most common reproductive disorder. This disorder is much more common than previously thought, and the exact cause is unknown.
PCOS can be triggered by inflammation, genetics, stress or insulin resistance.
menstrual irregularities (long cycles)
androgen symptoms: hirsutism (dark/coarse hair on chin, upper lip, nipples/chest/stomach)
acne (especially on jawline)
infertility due to a lack of ovulation
symptoms typically improve with age - cysts and androgens (male hormones) can decrease BUT metabolic risks INCREASE with age
As with anything in the human body, PCOS can present differently in different people. However, there are 4 main presentations used to categorize the disorder, and knowing which one you are helps dictate treatment:
A: Classic PCOS - most severe, 60% of cases
Delayed ovulation + high androgens + cysts on the ovaries
Tend to have the most weight gain in mid-section
Tend to have high LH/FSH ratio
More risk for metabolic disease
More menstrual irregularities
Low progesterone is very common in this type of PCOS
B: Also classic but less severe
Delayed ovulation + high androgens - no cysts on ovaries
High androgens (male hormones) + cysts on the ovaries but regular cycles
More mild symptoms
Less weight gain typically
Moderate increase in LH/FSH + androgens
Types A+B can move to this more mild type once someone changes lifestyle/age/etc
D: Non-classic non-hyperandrogenic
Irregular cycles + cysts on ovaries but normal androgens/ no hair growth etc
Less weight gain and insulin resistance
If this is suspected you typically need to rule out other causes since it may not be PCOS
If you experience these symptoms, there are a variety of tests on your hormones that can help your doctor deduce whether you have PCOS.
At modrn med we typically run a DUTCH test to look at hormone levels as well as blood work.
Important blood work to ask your doctor for include:
LH, FSH, estradiol on day 3 of the cycle (day1= first day of your period).
progesterone day 19-21of the cycle
DUTCH Complete on day 19-21
Androgens: Free and total testosterone, androstenedione, DHT, DHEA-S
Fasting insulin, HbA1c
Inflammatory markers: hs-CRP, ESR
Full thyroid panel: TSH, FT3, FT4, anti-TPO, anti-TG
Once the type of presentation you have is discovered, there are conventional and natural treatment options your doctor can recommend.
To work with Dr. Williams directly you can schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation or initial consult with her here.