How to Talk to Your Partner About PCOS

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If you are a woman diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you will most likely want to tell your long term partner about your condition—and discuss the potential complications that could affect your life together.

There are many effects of PCOS, including issues that may impact your physical appearance, your long term health, and your fertility.

Living With PCOS

PCOS is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands produce more androgens than usual. Androgens are generally considered male hormones.

While all women produce some androgens, women with PCOS have higher levels of these hormones, leading to increased hair growth, acne, and weight gain. This condition can also cause irregular periods and can be associated with infertility and an increased risk of miscarriage. PCOS is also linked with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, uterine cysts, an increased risk of endometrial cancer, and osteoporosis. Women with PCOS experience these issues in varying degrees.

Causes

PCOS is associated with an imbalance of the endocrine system but it is still not known exactly what causes those changes.

The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis is the female body's hormonal control system, and it is located in the brain. The hypothalamus normally releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which binds to the pituitary gland. In response, the pituitary gland releases several hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). LH stimulates the ovaries to produce androgens.

Some theories behind PCOS include a hereditary predisposition, alterations in the signaling of the HPO, and a relationship between insulin and androgen.

Treatment

If you have PCOS, your partner may be concerned about your health and the possible complications that you can experience. The effects that your condition will have on your life are not easy to predict. It can help if you understand the risks and get appropriate screenings based on your doctor's recommendations.


Many symptoms and complications of PCOS can be managed through lifestyle modifications such as losing weight, following a healthy, low carbohydrate diet, and getting regular exercise.

Managing Symptoms

For women who are not seeking to get pregnant, hormonal therapies are often used for regulating menstrual cycles. Women who have not had a period in a long time may be given a medication such as Provera to induce a cycle.

Other symptoms, such as increased facial hair, can be treated with prescription medications such as Aldactone (spironolactone), which inhibits the testosterone secreted by the body and also competes for hormone receptors in the hair follicles.

Managing Health Complications

If you have developed health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, or osteoporosis, you will likely be given a prescription to reduce the impact of these issues on your life. In some cases, you may experience substantial improvement of these complications and you may be able to discontinue your medication.

Fertility

Infertility is often a big concern. If you and your partner want to have children, be sure to address the subject with your medical team.

Having an idea ​of what to expect when it comes to fertility and pregnancy can help you and your partner feel more in control and less intimidated if you will eventually need to have infertility treatment.

Getting pregnant with PCOS is possible, though it may a little bit more difficult. This means that you should let your doctor know if you are unable to get pregnant after trying for a few months. Your medical team may test you with blood tests or other tests to help pinpoint the problem and the solution.

While becoming pregnant can be a challenge, there are treatments available. Approaches for managing PCOS-associated infertility include lifestyle adjustments (such as watching your blood sugar and weight), hormone medication, and in vitro fertilization.

A Word From Verywell

Your partner can be a huge source of support for you, especially if you are open and honest. Consider allowing your partner to come to one of your medical appointments with you to ask questions.

It might be a good idea to start a healthier lifestyle together. Exploring new healthy recipes and going for walks or runs together can be great ways to support each other and spend time together. And most importantly, don’t forget to keep the lines of communication open as time goes on.

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