Not Just a Hormone Imbalance
PCOS is primarily known as an endocrine disorder yet it impacts more than just hormone levels. While the majority of research studies focus on the prevention of long term health consequences such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, few studies acknowledge that PCOS greatly impacts a person’s quality of life, beyond their physical health. Over the years I have learned that PCOS can not only be challenging to treat, it is often overwhelming to live with. Many women voice frustration around dealing with acne, unwanted facial and body hair, infertility, and weight loss— all of which contribute to emotional distress. Their concerns are valid yet sometimes treatment is focused on simply regulating hormones and not helping a young woman cope with symptoms that affect the way she feels about herself.
PCOS is often poorly understood yet with a holistic approach symptoms can improve and at the very least, be managed. Acknowledging that PCOS is not simply a hormonal imbalance is the first step. With that being said, this will require a multidisciplinary team of health care providers such as: medical providers with expertise in treating young women with PCOS, a dietitian who is able to educate women about dietary concerns and help with weight management (low glycemic diet, etc.), and a counselor or therapist who can help with sorting out emotional concerns that result when having to deal with a complicated and chronic medical condition.
As science moves forward, I am hopeful that someday there will be a cure for PCOS. In the meantime, women of all ages who are diagnosed with PCOS can greatly benefit from resources that not only treat their hormone imbalance but also improve their quality of life.
– Nurse Phaedra