The staff of Brenham Women’s Health serves women from many Texas communities, including those who live in Brenham and nearby areas. Dr. Aaron Campbell is a board certified OB/GYN physician who specializes in the treatment of PCOS and other disorders of the female endocrine system.
PCOS Q & A
by Aaron Campbell, MD, FACOG
What is PCOS?
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition in which several small cysts form on or near the ovaries. The cysts are the result of a hormonal imbalance that disrupts how the reproductive system functions. The longer the condition goes without treatment, the more severe the symptoms become. Cysts can begin to become more painful and periods more erratic. There’s also an increased risk of infertility. PCOS has no known cause, but it’s believed that women who have a strong family history that involves fibroids and other reproductive issues may be at a higher risk of developing PCOS than others.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
The symptoms associated with PCOS are often associated with other health conditions involving the female reproductive system. Abdominal pain, weight gain, irregular and painful periods, acne, an increase in facial or body hair, thinning hair, infertility, and depression are the most commonly reported symptoms. When the symptoms first begin to appear, they can be extremely mild and are often associated with simpler problems like having an abnormally heavy period. Issues with weight are often attributed to overeating or not exercising. As the symptoms begin to increase in severity and frequency, Dr. Campbell will begin to look for other PCOS symptoms.
What happens if PCOS isn’t treated?
If PCOS isn’t treated, the cysts can continue to develop putting pressure on the ovaries and preventing them from functioning correctly. With the hormones already being out of balance, further disruptions could cause irreversible damage to the ovaries resulting in permanent infertility and excessive menstrual bleeding with each cycle. If this continues, the excessive loss of blood each month could result in anemia and further disruptions in how the reproductive system functions. The depression and subsequent mood swings can begin to affect a person’s quality of life and dramatically reduce the person’s ability to bounce back after a bad monthly cycle.