Polycystic Ovarian Disease

NorthShore Weight and Metabolism

Endocrinology & Obesity Medicine located in Amesbury, MA

If you experience irregular periods, excess facial or body hair, or infertility, it could be related to polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), also known as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). At NorthShore Weight and Metabolism in Amesbury, Massachusetts, board-certified endocrinologist Dr. Dominica Costello can diagnose and treat PCOD to reduce unpleasant symptoms and the risk of complications. Call the office to schedule an appointment or request one online today.

Polycystic Ovarian Disease Q & A

What is polycystic ovarian disease?

Polycystic ovarian disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), is a syndrome that includes irregular periods, acne, extra facial hair, hair thinning, and infertility. It is very common, about 5-8% of all women have PCOD, and most women with PCOD are overweight or obese. 

What are the symptoms of PCOD?

Common signs and symptoms linked with PCOD include:

  • Irregular/infrequent periods
  • Excess facial or body hair
  • Acne and oily skin
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain 

Symptoms of PCOD often occur during puberty or with your first menstrual period. In some cases, it develops later in life, especially in response to excess weight gain.

In addition to infertility, other complications that might appear with untreated PCOD include diabetes, pregnancy problems, liver inflammation, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, and depression. Obesity can make PCOD complications worse. 

What are the risk factors for polycystic ovarian disease?

Factors that can increase your chance of developing PCOD are:

  • Maternal PCOD 
  • High insulin levels/Insulin resistance/Pre-diabetes/metabolic syndrome
  • Weight gain/being overweight or obese
  • Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound
  • Genetics
  • Excess androgen (male) hormone production.

At the first sign of a hormone or weight problem, see the NorthShore Weight and Metabolism team for an evaluation. 

How does my provider diagnose polycystic ovarian disease?

To evaluate you for possible PCOD, Dr. Costello will review your medical history and symptoms and complete a physical examination. She will ask questions about your periods and weight history. 

If you have had an ultrasound of your ovaries, she will review that, as well as any blood work. She will request more blood work if needed. Based on your history and all the testing results, Dr. Costello will be able to discuss with you whether or not she thinks you have PCOD.

What are the treatments for PCOS?

Common PCOS treatments include:

Weight loss

If you’re overweight or obese, Dr. Costello can help you reach a healthier weight to reduce symptoms caused by polycystic ovarian disease. Limiting high-fat or refined carbohydrates can help you meet weight loss goals, or you may want to learn more about the medical weight loss program at NorthShore Weight and Metabolism. You can also meet with our nutritionist. 

Medications

There are several different medications used to treat the various elements of PCOD. Metformin and other medications used for diabetes are often used, as well as medications used for weight loss. Often women are also offered the birth control pill to alleviate menstrual irregularity and perhaps acne. Lastly, there are medications that can help with excess facial hair or “male patterned” hair loss.

Infertility treatment

If you struggle to get pregnant because of polycystic ovarian disease, the NorthShore Weight and Metabolism team can refer you to an infertility specialist.

If you think you may have some of the symptoms or signs of PCOD, you should be evaluated and treated if necessary. Call the office to schedule an appointment or request one online today.