Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that affects approximately 5 million reproductive-aged women in the United States. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has announced that a press telebriefing will be held on Wednesday, 23 January by an impartial, independent panel to discuss their findings and recommendations on polycystic ovary syndrome.
The ovaries are not the only organ affected however. The pancreas, liver, muscle, blood vasculature, and fat are also affected by PCOS. Women with PCOS often have difficulty becoming pregnant due to hormone imbalances. Women with PCOS are also at risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Common symptoms of PCOS may include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Facial hair growth
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Ovarian cysts
- Patches of dark, thick skin, called acanthosis nigricans
- Pelvic pain
- Skin tags (those excess pieces of skin hanging in your armpits)
- Sleep apnea
- Thinning hair on scalp
- Weight gain
The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown although genetics are believed to play a role. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), insulin may be linked to PCOS, hence, the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that controls how sugar, starches, and other food are changed into energy for the body to use or store. Many women with PCOS have too much insulin. Excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen.
Costs to the U.S. healthcare system to identify and manage PCOS are approximately $4 billion annually. There is no cure currently for PCOS. Treatment is more preventative than curable in that regard. Treatment may include: lifestyle change, birth control pills, diabetes medications, fertility medications and surgery. Each case is different. No two women are alike and so no two treatments will be alike.
The telebriefing will be held at 2 p.m. ET and is only available by telephone conference. To pre-registration and receive additional resources, go to http://prevention.nih.gov/workshops/2012/pcos/media-resources.aspx. The dial in number will be 1-888-441-7990 in the States. International callers can dial 1-201-604-5177.
Those interested in listening to the telebriefing are asked to call in five to 10 minutes beforehand. Media will be asked for name and outlet. Those not affiliated with a media outlet may listen in, but only media will be permitted to ask questions.
The Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) assesses, facilitates, and stimulates research in health promotion and disease prevention in collaboration with the NIH and other public and private partners, and disseminates the results of this research to improve public health. For more information about the ODP, visit http://prevention.nih.gov.
This article was taken in part from a press release by the NIH. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your physician. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PCOS, make an appointment with your physician.
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