The Ultimate List of Resources for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
If you are living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you know that it can be a challenge to manage. The good news is that there is a lot of information and support available to help you live your best life with PCOS. Here are some of the best resources:
- The Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association (PCOSA) is a great resource for information on all aspects of PCOS, from diagnosis to treatment. They also offer an online forum where you can connect with other people living with PCOS.
- PCOS Diva is a website devoted to helping women with PCOS live their best lives. It includes information on nutrition, exercise, and fertility, as well as a blog and free PCOS Newsletter.
- The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide offers detailed information on all aspects of polycystic ovary syndrome, including treatment and self-care.
- PCOS Nutrition Center has a number of great resources for living with PCOS, including diet and exercise information and recipes, as well as access to an online community through the website's message boards. There is also a mobile app available which offers articles on nutrition and fitness as well as meal plans and recipes.
- Fit Mommy MD focuses more specifically on women who are trying to conceive (TTC) with PCOS or other fertility issues such as endometriosis or recurrent miscarriage. You can find lots of great information on nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle changes that can improve your fertility.
- PCOS Teen is a website specifically for teenage girls who are living with PCOS. It includes information on diagnosis, treatment, and how to manage PCOS when you're still growing and developing. There is also a forum where you can connect with other teens who are dealing with PCOS.
- The Mayo Clinic has an excellent overview of polycystic ovary syndrome, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
- Finally, don't forget to talk to your doctor or health care provider about any questions or concerns you have about PCOS. They are your best source of information and advice when it comes to managing your PCOS.
Living with polycystic ovary syndrome can be a challenge, but with these great resources you can learn more about the condition and find the support you need to manage it successfully.
Find a Doctor You Can Rely On to Treat Your PCOS
When you're ready to seek help to determine whether your symptoms are caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), be prepared to be your own advocate. You'll have to be a little more assertive. And, no matter what happens or what you are told, maintain a positive attitude.
Finding the right doctor for you may take some time. In a 2017 survey of 1,385 women from 32 countries, including the United States—the largest study ever conducted to examine women's experiences with PCOS—half of those polled said they saw three or more healthcare providers before receiving a diagnosis.
It took more than two years for at least 30% of these women to receive a diagnosis confirming their symptoms were caused by polycystic ovary syndrome.1 When these women were finally diagnosed, more than half reported receiving little to no emotional support or information about the disease.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is best diagnosed and treated by doctors from various specialties. The best doctor for you will be determined by your symptoms and needs, as well as the types of specialists available in your area. PCOS can be treated by the following doctors:
- Family Doctor: Your primary care physician can take the lead in your PCOS care and will likely enlist the assistance of other specialists to help treat and resolve hormone and menstrual cycle irregularities, acne and hair growth issues, metabolic challenges such as weight gain, and infertility.
- Endocrinologists: These specialists, who have advanced training in a wide range of hormone-related medical problems, diagnose and treat PCOS as part of their medical focus, but some specialize in treating this condition specifically, which would be ideal for those living in larger cities or who have access to a teaching hospital.
- Obstetrician/gynecologists: Because menstrual and fertility issues can be the first signs of PCOS, many women begin their journey with a gynecologist. Your gynecologist may continue to treat you or refer you to an endocrinologist to coordinate your care, depending on your needs and other symptoms.
- Reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists: These doctors have specialized training in menstrual disorders, ovulation issues, and infertility. You may work with one of these specialists to obtain specific assistance in order to conceive and have a baby.
- Functional medical specialists: Practitioners who work with you to determine the underlying cause of your specific symptoms by evaluating your genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle patterns, and then work with you to reduce the symptoms through lifestyle changes so you can achieve a healthy equilibrium. Because so much of PCOS is hormonal in nature, there's a good chance that a functional medicine specialist could help you. This doctor, however, should not replace your primary care physician; rather, she or he should collaborate with your primary care physician to ensure that all of your needs are met.
Unfortunately, your insurance may not cover these specialists or many of the tests they require. Before you go this route, find out if your healthcare plan will reimburse you for the visit and/or any testing. Consider it a red flag if the practitioner tries to sell you an expensive "package." Because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all treatment, you should only pay for what you require.
- Other practitioners: You may find it beneficial to work with a dermatologist to address skin issues such as acne and excessive hair growth. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mood changes that prevent you from remaining positive or optimistic, a psychologist or psychiatrist can assist you. A registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) can help you develop a healthy eating plan for weight management that you'll enjoy and be able to stick to, as well as one that meets your medical needs and personal preferences. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to invest in a multi-session plan because it is typically less expensive and commits you to returning to see the process through.
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