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PCOS: It's About More than Fertility

If you have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and you are trying to conceive, you may be very focused on losing weight (if you are overweight) and restoring hormonal balance so you can ovulate regularly and increase your chances of getting pregnant.

But what if you or someone you know is not focused on fertility and has PCOS? Is it as important to treat it?

The answer is yes, and it's not because of the symptoms of PCOS such as excessive hair and acne (although those are definitely a reason to get those hormones under control). The fact is, PCOS is associated with many other health problems that are much more serious in nature than facial hair, including type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body either stops making insulin or doesn't properly use the insulin, which makes blood glucose levels go higher. Consistently high levels of glucose in the body can cause damage to organs such as the eyes and kidneys.

In addition to diabetes, PCOS is associated with cardiovascular disease — heart disease and high blood pressure. Cardiovascular disease can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Losing weight in combination with insulin-sensitizing agents such as Metformin may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as other conditions linked to PCOS. It's not just about infertility — get PCOS under control whether you are trying to have a baby or not.

Want to learn more about PCOS? Check out Fertility Authority's PCOS Channel and watch Dr. Keri Greenseid of Valley Reproductive Health in New Jersey discuss the genetics behind PCOS:

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