4 Risks Associated with PCOS…that have nothing to do with fertility
When women have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in their teens or early 20’s their health plan is generally focused on symptoms that they can see like acne, hirsuitism (male-pattern hair growth) and irregular periods. If women are diagnosed a little later, care is often focused on fertility. However, as these women age their health needs related to PCOS changes. However, these women are not often told about their PCOS- associated health risks as they age. Though these health concerns are not her fault proper assessment and treatment options tailored to her needs can help to decrease her life-long risk.
Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Women with PCOS have a 40-50% increased risk of developing heart disease than their age-matched counterparts.
- Women with PCOS have a 4 times increased risk of developing diabetes in her lifetime. This is because of the relationship between PCOS and insulin resistance. When she is young this insulin resistance doesn’t seem to have any obvious consequences as it is rare that she will develop diabetes in her 30’s or 40’s. As these women age, this increase risk really starts to matter!
- Alternatively, if you are a young women in her 20’3 or 30’s and you have been diagnosed with diabetes, the investigation should NOT stop there. You should be evaluated for PCOS.
- Endometrial cancer
- Women with PCOS are 3 times more likely to develops endometrial cancer due to lack of ovulatory cycles and low progesterone levels causing missed periods. This risk is significantly lowered for every year that these women are on the birth control pill but for many of these women there can be other ways to manage this risk if that is not the right choice for them.
- A Thyroid Disorder (most commonly Hashimotos)
- PCOS and Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) are often found in the dame women. Women with both PCOS and hypothyroidism have more significant issues with insulin resistance, higher cholesterol levels and higher testosterone levels. This relationship further increases her life-long risk of cardio-metabolic issues if not discovered and addressed. Furthermore, she is more likely to feel bad and therefore have a harder time exercising and eating well.
If you are a woman with PCOS, this information is not meant to be all doom and gloom. It highlights some of the challenges that may come with a condition that medically is usually focused on treating acne, hirsutism and fertility concerns. If these are not a concern for you may not see the need of addressing your PCOS. However, you may benefit from a tailored health plan and regular assessment to avoid or treat the health concerns listed above. The research on how to support women at every age and stage of her life is very clear and nutrition, targeted nutrients and supplements can make a big difference.
When we work with women with PCOS, our goal is to develop a life-long health pant that takes into her current needs like acne, hirsutism and cycle regulation, but also to reduce future health consequences of the condition.
At Health Over All, our programs are designed for increased support and accountability. They are all tailored to the individual to make sure that her needs are met for short term results but also long term health risk reduction.
Book your free Alignment Call HERE to find out how you can work with us.
Dr. Lisa Maddalena, ND