If you have recently been struggling with painful menstruation, irregular periods, or other reproductive health issues, you may have spent a great deal of time with your doctor trying to figure out what is going on with your body. Once you finally receive a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (more commonly referred to as PCOS), you likely feel a sense of relief that you know what is happening inside of your body. However, the diagnosis may also leave you wondering what you can and should do going forward. Get to know more about what you can expect regarding the treatment and management of your PCOS so you can be prepared.
You May Be Prescribed Birth Control To Manage Menstruation
One of the most common complaints regarding PCOS is irregular periods (menstruation). This can include missing several periods entirely, menstruating for several weeks or even months without a break, and experiencing painful cramping and discomfort during menstruation.
There are different ways to deal with this situation, but the simplest is to use birth control medications as a means of controlling and regulating your periods. PCOS affects the hormones in your body, potentially causing excess testosterone and insufficient female sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone which can in turn cause your menstrual cycle to be irregular.
Hormonal birth control, therefore, can help to re-balance your reproductive hormones, giving you a more regular menstrual cycle. Keep in mind it may take several tries to find the right birth control medication option that will work to manage your menstrual cycle.
There Will Likely Be More Blood Work Necessary To Test For Other Issues
PCOS is primarily characterized by clusters of numerous cysts on one or both ovaries. However, there are other health issues and imbalances that can be linked to PCOS. High levels of testosterone are often consistent with the condition (though not always). Your doctor may ask you to submit to blood tests that check the levels of testosterone in your body. If they are found to elevated, there are a few different treatment options.
Sometimes, those birth control pills used to manage your irregular menstruation will be enough to boost your estrogen and reduce your testosterone levels. Other women may need further medications or treatments. Sprionolactone, for example, is a medication that works as an antagonist to testosterone in the body and can reduce those hormone levels.
Your physician may also want to test your fasting insulin levels after your PCOS diagnosis. PCOS can be linked to type 2 diabetes as well as other metabolic conditions and a fasting blood glucose level test can determine whether this has occurred with you so you can get proper treatment for it.
With these steps in mind, you can be sure that you are prepared for what will come next when you have been diagnosed with PCOS.