Extremely Painful Periods? It Could be PCOS!
Experiencing painful or extremely long periods is not uncommon, but if you are experiencing excruciating pain during menstruation, there may be an underlying medical condition that is responsible for your agony. The good news is that no woman has to suffer in silence with unbearable period pain.
A skilled, experienced, and compassionate OBGYN like Dr. Chadi Haddad, DO in Dearborn Heights can identify the cause of your discomfort and provide effective treatments so that your periods don’t stop you from enjoying a normal life and engaging in the daily activities you enjoy.
When menstrual discomfort is accompanied by irregular cycles, acne, and unwanted hair growth, it might be a sign of a medical condition called “PCOS” (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects millions of women, often leading to a range of uncomfortable symptoms.
If you are dealing with the frustration of PCOS you are not alone. In the United States, it is estimated that up to 10% of females of childbearing age – which is almost 6 million women – have PCOS. Many celebrities have also openly discussed their struggles with PCOS including KeKe Palmer, Leah Michele, and even Victoria Secret supermodel Romee Strijd.
In this article, top Dearborn Heights OBGYN Dr. Chadi Haddad sheds light on PCOS, its symptoms, causes, diagnostic techniques, and available treatments.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder that affects the reproductive system, particularly the ovaries. Sometimes PCOS is also called Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
All human bodies need both “male” and “female” hormones to function properly, but a woman with PCOS has too much of the male kind of hormones. This creates a variety issues – from hair overgrowth to problems with the ovaries.
Some women with PCOS experience irregular periods or no periods at all. Women with PCOS also often have enlarged ovaries containing small cysts, hence the name “polycystic.” These cysts are actually immature follicles that have not developed into eggs as they should have during the menstrual cycle. Sometimes these rows of small cysts are described as being in a “string of pearls” pattern.
PCOS is also a common cause of infertility, which is another reason it is important to diagnose and treat PCOS – if you wish to have children now or in the future.
While Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can’t be cured, it can be effectively treated – both reducing symptoms and preserving fertility.
What are the Symptoms of PCOS?
PCOS is characterized by a wide range of symptoms, which can vary in type and intensity from person to person. Common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, heavy or prolonged periods, painful menstruation, acne, oily skin, unwanted hair growth (hirsutism), and hair thinning or loss on the scalp.
Many women with PCOS miss periods, have irregular menstrual cycles, or may even stop having periods altogether. But when women with PCOS do have a menstrual period, they often experience heavy bleeding, clots, and very severe pain.
Additionally, PCOS can be associated with weight gain, difficulty losing weight, and insulin resistance, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
And, as with endometriosis and many other medical conditions, as PCOS progresses, symptoms like severe period pain will typically get worse over time.
What Causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Insulin resistance, a condition in which the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, is thought to play a significant role in PCOS. Insulin resistance can lead to increased production of insulin and other hormones that contribute to the hormonal imbalances seen in PCOS. Obesity also plays a role in causing PCOS – although PCOS may also lead to obesity.
Recent research also suggests that chronic low-grade inflammation may be a contributing factor to PCOS, as studies have shown that people with PCOS tend to have chronic low-grade inflammation.
How Do I Know if I Have PCOS?
While you may suspect that you have PCOS, the only way to obtain an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment is to see an experienced and compassionate OBGYN like Dr. Chadi Haddad in Dearborn Heights. Diagnosing PCOS involves a comprehensive evaluation of symptoms, medical history, physical examination, and sophisticated testing.
Dr. Haddad employs a combination of techniques to accurately diagnose PCOS, including blood tests to assess hormone levels (such as testosterone and insulin), pelvic ultrasound to visualize the ovaries for cysts and assess their size, and a review of your menstrual history. These diagnostic tools help in ruling out other conditions with similar symptoms and confirming PCOS.
Medical Conditions Related to PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is often accompanied by a range of related conditions that stem from the same underlying hormonal imbalances that are causing the PCOS. These conditions can compound the challenges faced by individuals with PCOS and require careful management.
Insulin resistance, a hallmark of PCOS, can lead to elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Managing insulin sensitivity through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medications, can reduce this risk.
PCOS is also associated with an increased risk of heart (cardiovascular) disease due to the combined effects of hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Regular cardiovascular assessments and heart-healthy practices are crucial for preventing complications.
Sleep apnea, a condition characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, is also more common in women with PCOS. This can further disrupt overall health and should be addressed through proper evaluation and treatment.
How PCOS is Treated
Managing PCOS involves a holistic approach that addresses the diverse range of symptoms and underlying hormonal imbalances. Top Dearborn Heights OBGYN Dr. Chadi Haddad customizes PCOS treatment plans based on each patient’s unique needs and goals.
For women experiencing irregular periods, hormonal contraceptives (birth control pills) can often help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate symptoms. Additionally, anti-androgen medications may be prescribed to manage excess hair growth and acne.
While medical interventions play a significant role in managing PCOS, adopting certain lifestyle changes can also have a profound impact on alleviating symptoms and improving overall well-being. Lifestyle modifications, such as adopting a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, losing some weight, and managing stress, are often recommended to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate hormone levels.
Good sleep habits can also help regulate hormones and improve overall health. And minimizing consumption of processed foods, sugary snacks, and beverages high in added sugars can help – because these foods can contribute to inflammation and worsen insulin resistance.
PCOS Treatment | Dearborn Heights OBGYN
With medical guidance from Dr. Chadi Haddad, in Dearborn Heights, most patients can see significant improvements in PCOS symptoms, overall health, and quality of life. However, every woman’s journey with PCOS is unique, so personalized approaches are key to successful management.
PCOS can significantly impact a woman’s physical and emotional well-being, affecting everything from menstrual cycles to self-esteem. As a leading OBGYN in Dearborn Heights, Dr. Chadi Haddad understands the complexity of PCOS and is dedicated to providing personalized care to manage your symptoms and help you get your life back.
If you find yourself battling extremely painful periods, irregular cycles, unwanted hair growth, or any other PCOS-related concerns, schedule an appointment with Dr. Haddad in Dearborn Heights and take the first step toward finding relief and regaining control of your health.
PCOS OBGYN | Dearborn Heights: 313.724.3759
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