Learn More About PCOS from the Coyle Institute

While polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is common, it is also one of the most misunderstood urogynecological conditions. PCOS affects around 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years and can be marked by many troubling symptoms. However, misguidance and misconceptions can often mean women with PCOS don’t get the diagnosis or treatment they need, so they must continue to deal with the challenges of the condition. 

Dr. Michael Coyle at the Coyle Institute takes an individualized approach to PCOS treatment, implementing both lifestyle coaching and medical treatment to achieve the best possible results. 

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is classified as a hormonal disorder characterized by irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) and the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries. Women with PCOS can experience infertility, irregular periods and other symptoms.

Cysts on the ovaries are normal. In fact, they are produced monthly and typically rupture as part of the ovulation process and go away. With PCOS, however, the cysts can be more abundant than normal, may irregularly rupture and cause multiple problems. 

PCOS can be mild to severe. Milder cases may only involve symptoms like occasionally missed periods or irregular cycles, while more serious issues with PCOS can cause difficulties with fertility, chronic pelvic pain and more. 

Common Symptoms of PCOS

PCOS symptoms don’t look the same for every woman, which can make the condition tricky to accurately diagnose without proper evaluation. Nevertheless, some of the most common symptoms of PCOS are associated with menstrual irregularities, such as infrequent, prolonged or irregular periods. 

The more elusive symptoms are typically related to high levels of the androgen hormone in the body and can include: 

  • Acne
  • Excessive body hair 
  • Weight gain 
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Thinning hair 
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 

Polycystic ovaries are also a symptom, which is often revealed during an ultrasound examination. 

Due to the severity of symptoms, PCOS can have detrimental effects on a patient’s overall health and well-being. Many women face fertility issues in more severe cases, but even without fertility disruptions, PCOS can cause challenging symptoms physically and emotionally. 

Contact us at 850-637-8258 to schedule a consultation.

Causes and Risk Factors for PCOS

There is not a known underlying or well-defined cause of PCOS, even though there is a good understanding that hormonal imbalances trigger the condition on a biological level. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens than normal, often referred to as “male hormones,”, which causes a hormonal imbalance that tends to lead to PCOS.

Some factors are known to contribute to PCOS as well, including genetic predisposition. Women with issues with insulin resistance are also more at risk, as well as those who are overweight, lead a sedentary lifestyle or follow an unhealthy diet high in sugars and processed foods. 

How is PCOS Diagnosed?

A proper PCOS diagnosis requires a thorough evaluation and may involve a series of tests or exams, including: 

  • A physical exam 
  • A pelvic exam 
  • A pelvic ultrasound 
  • A series of blood tests 

PCOS is commonly diagnosed as part of a “differential diagnosis” process. This means the diagnosis is made after all other probable conditions that could cause the symptoms are ruled out. 

PCOS Management and Treatment

PCOS is a syndrome characterized by multiple cysts on your ovaries. However, contrary to the prevalent myth, the ovaries are not usually the issue that needs to be addressed during treatment. The best goal is to target underlying causes and work toward symptom management, which can involve a multifaceted approach. 

Lifestyle modification recommendations are a natural starting point for managing PCOS, which may include everything from nutrition coaching to guidance on implementing exercise to be more active. 

Medical treatments may also be recommended, including:

  • Hormonal treatments to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce androgen levels
  • Medications for managing insulin resistance, pain or inflammation 
  • Fertility treatments for women trying to conceive

The Coyle Institute’s Approach to PCOS

Many women who visit the Coyle Institute who have been struggling with PCOS are under the impression that their ovaries are the problem. However, Dr. Coyle takes a targeted approach to PCOS by addressing the underlying issue, which is most often hormonal imbalances. 

“Here at the Coyle Institute, we can test your hormones, get your hormones balanced, and significantly improve your quality of life.” —Dr. Michael Coyle 

While balancing hormones is a good starting point for many patients, Dr. Coyle builds a personalized treatment plan based on patient symptoms and health goals. Therefore, each patient may have a unique treatment plan. 

In addition to medical treatment, we also utilize lifestyle coaching that may include other factors that can affect PCOS, such as eliminating alcohol and nicotine or limiting certain foods known to exacerbate PCOS symptoms, like animal fats and dairy.

Living with PCOS

Coping with PCOS involves adopting strategies to manage its physical symptoms while also addressing its emotional and psychological impact. It’s crucial to acknowledge the emotional toll PCOS can take, including feelings of frustration, anxiety and even depression.

Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as mindfulness, yoga, or therapy can help navigate these challenges effectively. Additionally, building a support network of individuals who understand the struggles of living with PCOS can provide valuable empathy, advice and solidarity in the journey toward better health and well-being.

An Experienced Care Team Can Make All the Difference with a PCOS Diagnosis

Effectively recognizing and managing PCOS is the key to not allowing it to affect your quality of life as a woman. A huge part of this is working with a doctor and care team experienced with PCOS. If you suspect you are experiencing PCOS symptoms, contact the Coyle Institute at 850-637-8258 to schedule a consultation and get ongoing, personalized support. 

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