Understanding polycystic syndrome (PCOS) is complicated. It affects your menstrual cycle and has some strange symptoms. Many women actually have PCOS, yet have never been diagnosed. It’s possible one of them could be you.
Keeping track of your menstrual cycle can help you answer the question: when is a period considered abnormal. Then filter in the remaining information here to distinguish whether your cycle is normal. All women are different, and we celebrate that, but knowing when to speak to Women’s Care about your period can save you unnecessary pain and anxiety.
You may have seen the term “BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 testing” being used in regards to a person’s risk for breast cancer, but are you unsure about what it means?
If you have been confused in the past by changes in breast cancer screening guidelines, buckle up! Recently, more changes have been passed down as guidelines, so it’s important to make sure you’re knowledgeable.
If you have ever tried to lose weight, you know how frustrating it can be when you fail. You do everything the experts recommend and still no luck. Trying to lose weight if you have PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is 10 times more challenging.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormone imbalance disorder, and females as young as 11 can develop this. Women with PCOS have higher levels of male hormones and many tend to be overweight or obese. Lots of women with PCOS have excess body hair, acne, irregular periods, and weight gain specifically in the abdomen. Instead of the traditional female pear shape, those with PCOS tend to have an apple shape.
In addition, and maybe most importantly, women with PCOS are less sensitive to insulin, which is often referred to as an “insulin resistance”. This imbalance of insulin typically leads to a build up of glucose in the bloodstream, which makes you more susceptible to several medical conditions like high blood pressure, infertility, type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and heart disease to name just a few.
# 1: Skip the Diet and Just Eat Healthy
This particular tip could work for everyone. The word “diet” has some bad karma attached to it. You’re on one and then you’re not. Some work, but then you regain the weight. This yo-yo dieting trend is not healthy, and can in fact increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Instead of searching for a quick fix, focus on choosing foods with anti-inflammatory properties like nuts, avocados, olive oil, fish, and green tea. Much like the Mediterranean style of eating, these calculated decisions about your food may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Eating smaller meals several times a day often works better for many ladies, not just those with PCOS. This method can also help you shed the pounds.
# 2: Eat the Right Carbs
No carbs or low carbs? The answer is the right carbs, and those that contain whole grains.
Choose sweet potatoes, yams, corn, brown rice, quinoa, vegetables and fruits, beans, lentils, and peas. A balanced meal should always contain some portion of these healthy carbohydrates.
# 3: Get Enough Sleep
Most normal adults need from 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. Women with PCOS should aim for this amount of rest at a minimum, or you likely will become overweight and can develop obstructive sleep apnea.
This sleeping condition causes you to stop breathing periodically at night. Scary, right? In addition, sleep apnea makes women with PCOS more susceptible to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Plan out a routine for going to bed with calm music, a darkened room, and cool temperatures.
# 4: Reduce Your Stress
Easier said than done, as we all know. It becomes a vicious circle as we make poor choices, get stressed, and then make more bad choices. Cortisol, a major stress hormone, is particularly prevalent in women with PCOS. The result of this added stress is that we store more fat, which usually ends up around the stomach.
Try some yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or writing in a journal on a regular basis. Whatever you do, it is important to create a peaceful and stress-free environment, as women store less fat when relaxed and calm.
# 5: Exercise
Women with PCOS should exercise at least a few times a week to help fight diabetes. Lifting weights is an especially good way to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance and weight.
# 6: Speak with a Specialist
If you continue to struggle with your weight, it is important to remember that you do not have to continue this journey alone. Polycystic ovary syndrome is a life-long condition, and even if you manage to control and maintain your weight for a while, it may not always be easy.
Both endometriosis and adenomyosis are progressive disorders of endometrial tissue which typically cause pain, but are treatable and non life threatening. Both make it harder to get pregnant, and unfortunately, some women can have both conditions.
Intrauterine devices, abbreviated as IUDs, have been around for years. However, they only recently became popular among women in the United States.
Wondering about the difference between the symptoms of a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) and a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is quite a common dilemma. There are some symptoms similar to both an STI and a UTI, so sometimes it may be difficult to to discern which type of infection your symptoms represent. What follows may help you to spot the difference quickly and take action.
Chances are, you began receiving pap smears around the age of 21, and they have since become a routine part of your annual checkup for years. When you reach menopause, your body goes through several shifts and changes, but that doesn’t mean you should stop receiving important exams!
Why is a Pap Smear Important?
A pap smear is one of the most effective ways to detect abnormal, pre-cancerous tissue on the cervix. If left untreated, abnormal tissue can become cancerous quickly. Each year in the US, approximately 12,200 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,210 will die from the disease. A pap smear can help detect the issue early so that it can be treated before it develops further.
Do I Need a Pap Test After 50?
The short and simple answer for most women is yes. For those over 50 who have just entered menopause, It is recommended that you receive a pap test once every three years. However, this is mostly if you have had normal pap smear results three years in a row and you have no history of a pre-cancerous pap smear result.
In What Circumstances Can I Stop Receiving the Exam?
Women who have had a total hysterectomy for a non-cancerous condition, or those who are at the age of 70 and have had no abnormal pap tests in the past ten years, may no longer need to receive the exam. It is important for women to continue to receive routine pelvic exams, however.
What Symptoms Should I Be Aware Of?
Between your exams, or if you have stopped receiving your exam, it is still important to be aware of certain symptoms. Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Abnormal bleeding. Especially if you’re postmenopausal, it is abnormal to experience vaginal bleeding of any sort.
- Vaginal discharge. Watery, pink and/or foul smelling discharge is not typical and could be an indication of an issue.
- Pelvic pain. Although pelvic pain is not a direct symptom of cervical cancer, it can be a warning sign of abnormal changes.