Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that affects a woman’s hormonal balance and is the leading cause of infertility in the United States. While why the disease occurs is not very well understood, doctors do know that PCOS is an indicator that a woman has a higher risk for other health problems, including heart disease.
In fact, a recent and expansive study found that women with PCOS were twice as likely to be admitted to the hospital for reasons not linked to PCOS, compared to other women without the disorder. The study, which will be published in the March edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, followed women’s hospital admittance over the course of 15 years, beginning around the age of 15.
The study analyzed the health histories of over 2,500 women with PCOS compared to the health histories of over 25,0000 women of the same age without the disorder. Women with PCOS were more likely to develop a wide range of health conditions not specifically associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, including:
- Obesity: 16% of women with PCOS compared to 3.7% of women without PCOS
- Type 2 Adult Onset Diabetes: 12.5% versus 3.8%
- High blood pressure: 3.8% versus 0.7%
- Depression: 9.8% versus 4.3%
Researchers of the study expressed concern that since women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing conditions associated with heart disease (like obesity and high blood pressure) at the fairly young age, their risk of developing heart disease would increase as their age advanced.
While these findings may feel disheartening for women with PCOS, it’s important to know that there are many steps women with this disorder can take to gain control over their condition. Besides available medications, a weight loss of just 5% can help most women improve this hormonal and metabolic disorder.
PCOS is difficult to diagnose, but a good gynecologist should be able to spot the disorder during a well women exam. You can learn more about the associated symptoms of PCOS, as well as treatment options, by visiting our knowledge center.
At All About Women, our expert team of gynecologists is here to help women manage whatever comes their way, including the risks of PCOS. Contact our Gainesville or Lake City office today to schedule a well woman appointment today.