Talking to your healthcare provider about PCOS

You might have questions about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or maybe you want to know more but aren’t sure what to ask. It’s always a good idea to prepare for your appointments ahead of time so that the next time you’re in the doctor’s office, you’re not racking your brain for that question you had the other day.

Here are some questions you might want to consider asking your provider the next time that you go in for a check-up.

Are there medications I can take to manage my symptoms?

If you’re experiencing symptoms like acne, excessive hair growth, or difficulty losing weight, your provider might be able to prescribe you medication or recommend some lifestyle changes that could help. This depends on what symptoms you have, but it’s an important question to ask.

Do I need other tests?

Your provider may want to test your blood to check the levels of certain hormones or to see if you are pre-diabetic.

Does this impact my fertility?

PCOS is a common cause of infertility. If you want to get pregnant, either now or in the future, you’ll want to learn how PCOS could potentially impact that for you. Some people with PCOS don’t need help getting pregnant, but others may require fertility treatments in order to conceive.

Are there long-term health effects I should know about?

Much of the effort around treating PCOS goes towards addressing current symptoms, but it’s also good to be aware of long-term complications that could arise from PCOS in the future. People with PCOS are at higher risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and obstructive sleep apnea, among other conditions.

Knowing these complications can help people with PCOS start working to prevent them before they begin, rather than treating them after they become a problem.

Some other points to remember when you talk to your provider about PCOS are to take notes about the information your provider discusses, and to consider bringing a partner or a family member to the appointment.

If you’re not used to talking to your provider about these kinds of issues, it’s not always an easy adjustment, but asking questions and engaging in conversations with your healthcare provider will help you better understand and manage your own health as time goes on.

  • “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” SaintLukesHealthSystem. Saint Luke’s Health System, 2015. Web.
  • “PCOS Health Risks.” UCHospitals. The University of Chicago Medicines, 2016. Web.
  • “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Preparing for your appointment.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Sep 3 2014. Web.
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