What is exactly is PCOS

 What is PCOS? 

PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common dysregulation of the endocrine (hormonal) system, which causes a variety of symptoms. A common red flag is not having a 28-35 day menstrual cycle. We will explain the menstrual cycle, 4  types of PCOS,  common symptoms of PCOS, and how to get tested.  

In a 28-35 day menstrual cycle, the brain signals Luteinizing Hormones (LH)  and Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH)  to the ovaries, then the ovaries signals estrogen the brain.

When someone has PCOS the brain is not signaling the hormones to ovaries and/or vice versa in a 28-35 day cycle.This creates a hormonal cycle of imbalance where a person would stop ovulating,  not having a monthly period (amenorrhea).  But while the ovaries are waiting for their signal to know which one to become the ovulating side, they create tiny follicles are fluid filled sacks , which are called  Cyst.  Cyst can be extremely painful due to inflammation, and in case  you were wondering, yes these follicles can grow hair.  

There are 4 Types of PCOS 

  1. Insulin resistance PCOS: The worse one, because it's prones to type 2 diabetes and the body can't handle the insulin, can trigger inflammation and pain. 
  2. Adrenal PCOS: Which is when your body is stressed on a daily basis.And the body produces more cortisol and testosterone. This is what is responsible for facial hair growth and cystic acne,  almost always around the chin and jaw line.
  3. Inflammatory PCOS: This is chronic inflammation causing a lot of pain.
  4. Post-pill PCOS: Usually Dr. recommends swapping birth control pills like a game of hot potato. 

Common symptoms associated with PCOS 

Amenorrhea: Lack of menstrual bleeding period in a 28-35 day cycle

Anovulation: Not ovulating in a 28-35 day cycle

Hiratursm: Dark coarse facial hair, usually around chin and jaw line

Infertility: Trouble becoming pregnant over a 12 month span 

Ways to get tested for PCOS?  There is no actual test but rather, You and your Dr will communicate and request certain exams. 

  1. Request to test your hormone blood  levels. The patterns in PCOS patients are low Follicle Stimulating Hormones and High Luteinizing Hormones. This usually increases androgens, which converts into estrogen; the estrogen increases the LH while decreasing the FHS. 
  2. The most common way to confirm PCOS is to have a vaginal ultrasound where the Dr. can see the cyst in the ovaries. 


A part of the diagnosis is that your Dr. actually listens to you. They need  the combination of: common symptoms, abnormal hormone levels, vaginal ultrasound to confirm they are follicles and not something else.  Next blog posts we will go over: how to navigate the medical system, and home remedies for PCOS. 


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