Although Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition, many of us are kept in the dark about what it is and how it can affect our lives. It’s a hormonal and metabolic condition that involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 1 in 10 women are affected by PCOS. Wild, right?
What exactly is PCOS?
PCOS is a complex condition where the body’s reproductive hormones become unbalanced. In scientific terms, when a woman has PCOS, her ovaries will produce an unusually high level of androgens. Androgens are also known as male sex hormones, and while they’re normally present in females as well, women with PCOS have an excess which can interfere with the menstrual cycle.
PCOS hinders the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries, and sometimes fluid-filled sacs known as cysts can develop on their ovaries.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
One of the trickiest elements of PCOS is that the symptoms can be vague and mimic other conditions – leading to it being chronically undiagnosed. While there’s no single test for PCOS, physical tests, ultrasounds and blood tests can help in diagnosis.
Symptoms vary for everyone. The most common include irregular, infrequent or heavy periods, increased facial and body hair, thinning hair on the head, acne, mood swings, weight gain, dark patches of skin across the neck, armpits and groin, and excess skin or skin tags.
What kinds of PCOS exist?
- Insulin-resistant PCOS
As the most common form or cause of PCOS, this type is said to affect around 70% of PCOS sufferers. Over time, if there are higher levels of insulin than normal within the body, our cells become immune to insulin’s effect. This makes the pancreas freak out and begin to pump out even more insulin. This type of PCOS can often show up as weight issues (especially in your stomach area), brain fog, fatigue, excess hair, male pattern hair loss and acne.
- Pill-induced PCOS
Over the last five years or so, the contraceptive pill has been exposed as…well, probably not the best choice for every menstruating person. While it has benefits for some, many women who began taking the pill with no questions asked are now struggling with post-pill PCOS. This is likely because of the synthetic progestins used in mainstream oral contraceptives like Ginet, Yasmin and Yaz. When you stop taking the pill, your ovaries get super excited and cause a natural increase in androgens. This kind of PCOS often shows up as acne, irregular periods and excess hair growth.
- Adrenal PCOS
Affecting around 10% of diagnosed PCOS sufferers, adrenal PCOS is due to an abnormal stress response involving DHEA-S, which is a type of androgen that’s made in the adrenal glands. This is a bit of a unique case, since DHEA-S is usually elevated on its own, and not accompanied with high levels of testosterone.
- Inflammatory PCOS
This can be caused by anything that elevates inflammation over a long period of time. Inflammatory PCOS forces the ovaries to create excess testosterone which can result in physical symptoms and issues with ovulation. The major signs of this type of PCOS are often headaches, joint pain, fatigue, bowel issues like IBS, and skin issues like eczema.
What can be done about it?
The most important thing to remember when it comes to PCOS is that there’s nothing hard and fast about it. As a chronic and complex condition, diagnosis can often be long-winded, and so can recovery and management of symptoms. That’s why it’s vital to check in with a trusted healthcare professional as soon as you feel like something’s up. Whether you’re noticing excess hair around your chin, your periods have become abnormal or anything else in between, it’s best to start with a chat to a friendly doctor.
What kind of undies work best for PCOS?
It can be tricky to get into sync with your period when experiencing PCOS. That’s why it can be handy to have a pair of Modibodi undies close by. Spotting and surprise periods are all part of the fun unfortunately, so keep a pair of your favourite Modibodi Light-Moderate knickers on hand for those days when you need extra peace of mind.
Living with a chronic condition can be exhausting, irregular and sometimes debilitating. We wanted to extend a discount code to our PCOS community so you can feel slightly more comfortable during an uncomfortable time.
Please use PCOS15 for 15% off excludes sale items, bundles, Maxi, Ultra and gift cards.
Happy shopping! www.modibodi.com