PCOS is still difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat

“I was so ashamed that I had this, and the only thing my doctor told me was that you need to lose weight, and we’re going to put you on birth control.”

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Cat Steele’s morning routine has become a ritual.

She prepares meals for the workday and several vitamins to help regulate her hormones.

“I have to be very mindful of things that cause inflammation in my body, because that can lead to a lot of really negative symptoms,” Steele said.

At 28, managing her symptoms has been difficult since she was first diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, more commonly known as PCOS, as a teenager.

“I was in so much pain during my cycle that there were days I missed school, I was doubled over in bed, I could barely walk,” Steele said.

PCOS is still difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat

An ultrasound revealed cysts on her ovaries and blood tests revealed high testosterone levels. Doctors tried 11 different contraceptives and medications to help regulate her insulin.

“Within a year and a half, I had gained 120 pounds. I had dealt with mental health issues, and then all of a sudden my hormones were destroyed,” Steele said. “I was so ashamed that I had this, and the only thing my doctor told me was that you need to lose weight, and we’re going to put you on birth control.”

RELATED: No, Birth Control Does Not Cause Infertility

The World Health Organization considers PCOS a significant public health problem affecting 8-13% of women of reproductive age. Yet up to 70% of them go undiagnosed, leaving many people frustrated and confused about how to manage this lifelong condition.

PCOS affects women during the reproductive years, but symptoms vary among patients, including irregular periods, excess facial and body hair, severe acne, and enlarged ovaries, which in some cases can cause PCOS. infertility.

The signs are generally more serious in obese women. People with a family history of type 2 diabetes are at higher risk of developing PCOS.

RELATED: New OB/GYN Guidelines Recommend Annual Wellness Visits

But doctors aren’t sure what causes it, and more and more women like Steele are scouring the internet for answers.

Danielle Riley, a 10News employee, was recently diagnosed with PCOS and, like Steele, found dealing with the disorder confusing.

Riley started looking online and found community with others right here in East Tennessee struggling with the same frustrations.

“There’s this whole subgroup of girls in the neighborhood who know what they’re doing and have experienced it before me, so I just started asking a bunch of questions and trying to figure out: ‘Okay, so what works, what doesn’t?’ Does it work?’” Riley said.

Riley created an Instagram account to document her fitness journey, hold herself accountable, and share what she learns in the process.

Dr. Allison Eaton, MD, is an obstetrics and gynecology specialist practicing at UT Medical Center. She said doctors have differing opinions on how to manage PCOS because there is no “one size fits all solution.”

But Eaton said leaving this problem unmanaged can lead to an increased risk of developing uterine cancer, heart disease or diabetes.

“Weight management can definitely help, and you don’t need to get to a normal BMI. Just losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can make a big difference,” she said.

“For a lot of people, PCOS makes losing weight a lot more difficult because of the metabolism issues you have, so for me it culminated in weight loss surgery three months ago,” said Steele.

Steele found a doctor who is helping him find solutions that work.

“I feel good!” she says. “I have lost 70 pounds in the last four months.”

In May, she gave a commencement speech at her graduation from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work.

It’s a milestone she’s proud of and she feels better than ever.

“Just having an overall healthier space is really my goal right now so that I can, you know, do whatever I want to do in the future,” she smiled.

If you have PCOS, you can find help managing this condition on the Mayo Clinic website, the PCOS Diva blog, or the ACOG website.

News Source :
Gn Health

Back to top button