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The Surprising Signs of PCOS

The Surprising Signs of PCOS

suprising signs of PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine and metabolic disorder affecting 1 in 10 women of child-bearing age. PCOS is a common condition among women and girls who have reached puberty, however, at least 7 in 10 women with the disorder are undiagnosed. 

Because of its name, many assume ovarian cysts and irregular or missed periods characterize PCOS. These are indeed indicators of PCOS but other more unusual signs of the disorder may also be present. 

Before you continue reading about these symptoms, it’s important to know that no two PCOS cases are exactly the same. You may or may not share any of these symptoms with another PCOS patient. For instance, infertility is a symptom of PCOS, however many women are able to naturally conceive with no problems while others are able to conceive with fertility treatments. Some PCOS symptoms are a bit more common and while others aren’t as well known.

Unusual PCOS Signs

  • Weight gain or obesity that is difficult to manage.
  • Unwanted hair growth, known as hirsutism, on areas where men normally grow hair such as the face, arms, back, chest, thumbs, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism is the result of hormonal changes in androgens.
  • Hair thinning or loss
  • Acne
  • Mood changes such as mood swings, depression, and anxiety.
  • Pelvic pain and heavy bleeding may occur during menstruation. Pain in the pelvic area can also occur when women are not bleeding. 
  • Headaches
  • Sleep problems. PCOS is one of several conditions linked to sleep apnea disorder.

PCOS is currently incurable but treatable, although many women never find complete relief from symptoms. Hormonal birth control is the most common treatment of PCOS. Other, non-FDA approved treatments include anti-androgen drugs and Metformin. Anti-androgen drugs block the effect of androgens which reduces body and facial hair growth, acne, and scalp hair loss. Metformin, a medicine commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes, may help restore ovulation and aid in lowering body mass and improving cholesterol levels in women with PCOS. However, these medicines also carry certain risks and still need more studies before they are approved by the FDA. 

If any of the mentioned symptoms sound a little too familiar, you may have PCOS. We can discuss your symptoms and give a diagnosis with a women’s health exam, one of the many services offered at Mantachie Rural Health Care. If you receive a positive PCOS diagnosis, we’ll talk about the best treatment options and walk with you each step of the way to getting control of your symptoms. Click here to request a women’s health appointment now. 

The Benefits of an Annual Wellness Visit

The Benefits of an Annual Wellness Visit

Visiting your medical provider when you’re sick is an easy choice. Coming in when you’re feeling fine for an annual wellness visit, however, seems to be a more difficult decision. We get it. Life is hectic and visiting your provider when you’re not sick probably doesn’t cross one’s mind. But annual wellness exams are so essential to your health that most insurances cover the full cost of these visits. That list of insurance includes Medicare and Medicaid. A free visit with your provider is just one of several important reasons to schedule your annual wellness exam. If that’s not enough, here are a few more. 

Wellness exams help you fight illnesses and live longer. 

Important screenings that detect underlying health conditions and diseases help catch these illnesses early. Early detection increases your survivability and expands your lifespan. Your primary care provider will determine which screenings you need based on your personal and family health history, your age, and other factors like a problem detected during the physical exam portion of your appointment. Please note insurance companies do not cover all screenings. So be sure to ask before agreeing to extended testing. 

Wellness visits improve provider-patient relationships.

Ever visited a provider for the first time during acute illness and felt a little out of place or uncertain? Annual wellness visits are the opportunity to have open, honest, and candid conversations with your provider about your health and lifestyle before you’re sick. It’s as much of a chance for you to get to know your provider as it is for them to learn more about you and your health. When you visit the same provider for all of your medical needs, you establish a relationship. Good relationships between patients and providers are beneficial for the patient’s health. Providers are more likely to notice a concerning change in behavior or physical health when they see the patient on a routine basis. 

Wellness appointments help you take control of your health and healthcare.

Remember that candid conversation with your provider that we mentioned? That’s you taking control of your health. This is your chance to address concerns you have that may not be detected through a physical exam or review of your health history, like a mental health struggle. Wellness visits are an excellent time to start getting help with a problem like anxiety or depression. Primary care providers can refer you to a mental health professional for further diagnosis and can work with that professional to provide treatment. 

This is also your opportunity to discuss changes in your health like recurring headaches, increased heartburn, changes in your skin, and other symptoms that could be a cause for concern. You can then request additional testing and a referral to a specialist if needed.

Are you ready to take control of your healthcare and increase your life expectancy? Request your annual wellness appointment with one of our primary care providers here.

Six Foods You Thought Were Healthy But Aren’t

Six Foods You Thought Were Healthy But Aren't

Eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise are two lifestyle choices we heavily promote here at Mantachie Rural Health Care. Learning to eat healthy is challenging–especially in today’s world that offers an overwhelming amount of food options. Many of today’s foods, particularly pre-packaged, store-bought foods, are promoted as “healthy” choices but are actually worse than those obviously unhealthy options like soda and candy. If you’re trying to cut out unnecessary sugar, carbs, or calories from your diet, you’ll want to avoid the following six foods you thought were healthy.

Orange juice and other fruit juices.

The problem with orange juice and other fruit juices is that most of them are made from concentrate–meaning all the “good stuff” in the fruits that make these juices are stripped away and replaced with processed sugar. In fact, juices have as much sugar in each serving as a can of soda. 

Think making your own orange juice will make it healthier? Think again. The juicing fruits of orange are naturally sweet and contain very little fiber resulting in a spike in your blood sugar. The healthiest option is to switch to fruit-infused water. You can easily make your own by adding any of your favorite fruits to a pitcher of water and then refrigerating the water for several hours or overnight to allow the fruits to infuse.

Baked potato

A plain baked potato is high in calories and carbs. Start adding butter, sour cream, and other toppings and you’re adding even more junk to the mix. Opt for a sweet potato instead. 

Store-bought smoothies

Turns out saving yourself time with store-bought smoothies doesn’t actually save your diet. Even the “green” smoothies are high in sugar and low in the actual good stuff that comes from fruits and veggies that supposedly make up these smoothies. Your best bet is to eat your daily servings of fruits and vegetables and make sure you include a serving of greens with each meal. If you must have a smoothie, make your own. Your veggie portions should outweigh your fruit 3:1 and we advise adding flaxseed, chia seeds, or nuts for fiber. 

Flavored yogurt

There’s a reason healthy diets specify plain Greek yogurt instead of suggesting any yogurt on the dairy shelf. None, and we mean none, of the flavored yogurts you find at the grocery store are actually healthy. Like so many other foods that are advertised as healthy when they’re not, flavored yogurts are high in sugar. Satisfy your taste for yogurt by topping a serving of plain Greek yogurt with your choice of fresh fruit. 

Whole wheat

A few decades ago, whole wheat bread was touted as a healthy alternative to white bread. Health experts quickly found out that wasn’t quite the case, however. Actually, whole wheat contains so much sugar it raises your glucose levels faster than most candy bars. 

Dried Fruits

Much like other foods on our list, dried fruits are made unhealthy thanks to too much sugar made from the drying process. Always choose fresh fruit when you’re craving a fruity snack. 

Confused about what’s really nutritious and what’s not? You’re not alone. Our clinic has a registered dietician on staff. Contact us to make an appointment Erica Witcher, RD, CDE.


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