Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition in women of childbearing age. In addition to affecting fertility, it can also increase your risk of certain illnesses, including cancer. Here’s what to know about PCOS.

What is PCOS?

Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance that affects their ability to release eggs during ovulation. When eggs aren’t released, they form small cysts that produce the hormone androgen, further affecting the menstrual cycle. PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles and is one of the most common causes of female infertility.

PCOS is also linked with other conditions, including:

  • Type 2 Diabetes, including gestational diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Stroke
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Increased risk of endometrial, uterine, ovarian, and breast cancer

Risk factors for PCOS include:

  • Weight – while not a direct link, there is an association between weight and PCOS
  • Family history of PCOS
  • Insulin resistance

PCOS can affect women of all backgrounds and ethnicities and can affect women from as early as their first period.

PCOS Signs and Management

The signs and symptoms of PCOS vary and may be obvious in some and less clear in others. Possible indicators of PCOS include:

  • Hair growth on the face and body; hair loss on the scalp
  • Acne
  • Irregular periods
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Infertility issues
  • Multiple small cysts are found on the ovaries

Note that not all women with PCOS have ovarian cysts and that some women with ovarian cysts may not have PCOS.

Your doctor can help you identify whether you have PCOS and can help you manage your condition with hormonal medication. These medications can help with ovulation, acne, and hair growth issues. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help manage or prevent symptoms.

If you are diagnosed with PCOS, your doctor may also recommend routine scans to help identify potential cancers.

Ovarian and Uterine Cancer Signs

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, you should be mindful of the possible symptoms of ovarian and uterine cancer. These include:

  • Pelvic pain and pressure
  • Abnormal bleeding or discharge

And in the case of ovarian cancer:

  • Feeling full or bloated
  • Back pain
  • Increased urination

While some of these symptoms may overlap with PCOS symptoms, speak to your doctor about any new or unusual signs or symptoms.

If you have received a cancer diagnosis, the team at SWWO is here to help. Our full-service care team offers tailored, personalized care in a state-of-the-art environment, ensuring that you receive the care you deserve. Contact us today.


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