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The Importance of Understanding: PCOS Awareness Month

Medically reviewed by: Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG

Melissa A. Delgado, MD, FACOG is the founder and owner of The Chronic Pelvic Pain Center of Northern Virginia. Dr. Delgado is an experienced, board-certified OB/GYN and has spent the past 10 years dedicating her time to understanding complex and persistent pelvic pain.

According to the Office on Women’s Health (OASH), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. This condition is thought to stem from hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues. PCOS is considered one of the most common causes of infertility in women.

What Causes PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS is not well understood. What is known is that it's linked to genetics and an imbalance of the hormone androgen. There is a higher predisposition to the disease in individuals with obesity and diabetes.

As Johns Hopkins Medicine explains, androgens are male hormones found in small amounts in women. High levels of androgens affect the ovaries during ovulation and can prevent the ovaries from releasing the egg. When this release doesn’t occur, the ovaries may develop small cysts and endometrium tissue which then make more androgen hormones repeating the cycle of interrupted ovulation and egg release. Untreated, PCOS can lead to additional complications such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, infertility, and endometrial cancer.

Diagnosing PCOS

PCOS can be diagnosed in various ways. Common methods include a physical exam looking for extra body hair, thinning hair on the head, discoloration of the skin, increased acne, a pelvic exam or ultrasound, and blood tests. OASH informs us that women in their 20s and 30s often first get diagnosed when having difficulty getting pregnant. While PCOS typically only affects women during reproductive years, it doesn’t necessarily stop at menopause, and the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes increase with age.

Treatments for PCOS

There is no definitive cure for PCOS, but there is a wide range of treatments that focus on managing and improving symptoms. Often, these treatments include a combination of lifestyle changes such as exercise and healthier eating, coupled with medications such as birth control to balance hormones. Treatment for women trying to get pregnant may include lifestyle and medication treatment as well as in vitro fertilization (IVF). In some instances, surgery may be an option for managing PCOS.

Find Relief With PCOS Experts

Receiving a diagnosis of PCOS is the first step in mitigating and improving symptoms. It is important to find a knowledgeable physician or gynecologist to diagnose and help treat PCOS, as well as improve fertility chances and manage symptoms.

Dr. Melissa Delgado at The Chronic Pelvic Pain Clinic of Northern Virginia is here for you. Dr. Delgado is an SRC-accredited Surgeon of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology with Reston Hospital Center in Reston, Virginia. This accreditation awarded by SRC, a nonprofit patient safety organization, identifies Dr. Delgado as a top industry professional who upholds internationally proven high standards of excellence regarding patient care and safety.

Specializing in pelvic pain and gynecological disorders, Dr. Delgado takes a holistic, minimally invasive, personalized, and trauma-informed approach to treatment with her patients.

If you're experiencing symptoms of PCOS or pelvic pain, get in touch with our team at The CPP Center by scheduling a Discovery Call below or by calling (703) 448-6070.

To learn more about how an SRC accreditation benefits you, visit SRC’s patient page.


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