Why Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness Is So Important
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I'm Bringing Awareness To Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Because It's More Common Than You Think

PCOS affects about one in every ten women.

I'm Bringing Awareness To Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Because It's More Common Than You Think
Richelle Thompson

September is polycystic ovary syndrome awareness month. Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal disorder that affects women who are in between the ages of 15 and 44, of childbearing age. PCOS causes enlarged ovaries with cysts inside and outside the ovaries which complicates normal ovulation. PCOS affects about one in every ten women.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the leading cause of infertility in women. PCOS is characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, acne, weight gain, anxiety, depression, excessive facial/body hair, and thinning scalp hair. While cysts are one of the symptoms of PCOS, some women have cysts without having this order and some women with this disorder don't have cysts. If multiple symptoms are present, seek a medical diagnosis from your doctor. While the exact causes for PCOS are unknown, excess insulin, an overabundance of androgen (a male hormone), and heredity are factors.

For a regular menstrual cycle, the brain sends luteinizing hormones, LH, and follicle stimulating hormones, FSH, to the ovaries. The big surge of LH signals to ovaries to release an egg. The egg then travels down the fallopian tubes into the uterus and progesterone, the female sex hormone, causing the uterus lining to thicken. If the egg isn't fertilized, the uterus lining is shed which is when the menstrual period begins. After the menstrual period, the cycle repeats. For a menstrual cycle with PCOS, LH levels are usually higher than FSH levels. Since the LH levels are high, there is no surge in LH so ovulation does not occur. This causes periods to be irregular.

While there is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, there are treatments to help manage the symptoms. Doctors often recommend women with PCOS to take birth control, exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and take medications. Birth control helps balance hormones which will decrease acne and regulate periods. PCOS often causes weight gain, so exercising and maintaining a healthy diet help to regulate your weight. Medications help by targeting specific symptoms. For example, depression medications help by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain.

Richelle, a sophomore at the University of South Carolina, was diagnosed with PCOS last year. She hopes to bring awareness to the disorder. Richelle writes, "I've battled depression and mental health issues during my freshman year of college (this past year). A year later, I am proud to say that I have come so far being 10x healthier, more aware of my body, and learning every day how to have a positive look on life."

Richelle Thompson

Richelle has launched a nonprofit organization that raises money selling athleisure apparel to promote awareness for PCOS. Check out the account on Instagram: @ButterflySportz, apparel is coming this fall.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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