PCOS Symphony

Women are complicated! I often explain to my patients that the female reproductive system is like a symphony. The brain acts as the conductor, and the uterus and ovaries follow a carefully crafted “tune” of changing hormones each month. Just like a piece of music, the melody, tune, and tempo all have to be perfect, or else the music won’t sound right! The brain is constantly “listening” to the response from the ovaries and uterus and adjusting the “instructions” it sends back. When the system is working accurately, hormones are in perfect balance, which results in normal, regular periods.

When the brain and ovaries are not communicating clearly with each other, the symphony becomes very distorted. The conductor is slightly offbeat, the instruments are out of tune, and it gets more and more disorganized as the music progresses. This results in out-of-balance hormones, which can cause irregular periods, heavy/painful periods, frequent spotting, PMS/PMDD, and weight fluctuations.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (also known as PCOS) is a complicated condition where the brain and ovaries have “interference” and cannot communicate clearly. There are many different reasons why this can happen: genetic factors (can often run in families), thyroid problems, and insulin/weight issues. Because brain-to-ovary communication is very precise, even a small amount of interference can significantly change our cycles.

PCOS can have many different features, and often patients with PCOS can have very different symptoms. Other conditions like thyroid problems and pre-diabetes can mimic or worsen PCOS. PCOS diagnosis requires a careful history, labs, and ultrasound to ensure that the whole system is evaluated and the best options are provided for each patient.

Treatment for PCOS needs to consider each patient’s individual goals - is it a desire to get pregnant? To manage weight? Or to rebalance hormones? At Inspire Ob/Gyn, we have all the tools to help get your PCOS under control.

Lindsay Killingsworth MD

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