PCOS Clinical Research
Did you know we are conducting clinical trials for Polycystic ovarian syndrome? Unfortunately, this endocrine system disorder is common amongst women of reproductive age in Florida. While the exact cause of the disorder remains a point of contention, PCOS clinical research is pivotal in developing treatments that can help support your overall health and fertility.
Also called Polycystic ovary syndrome or simply PCOS, this endocrine system disorder is characterized by enlarged ovaries containing multiple fluid-filled sacs surrounding the eggs. This particular symptom can be identified during a routine ultrasound exam.
There is no cure for PCOS yet, but with an estimated 5 million women affected in the U.S, the research we are able to conduct now may form the foundation for groundbreaking treatments in the near future.
Symptoms and Complications
A whopping five to ten percent of childbearing-aged American women have the condition, but to PCOS patients, knowing they’re one of five million probably doesn’t help much. This is because women with PCOS tend to experience a number of difficult symptoms.
- Excess hair growth
- Deepened voice
- Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods
- Male hair growth patterns
- Thinning hair on head
- Extra hair on the face and body
- Obesity and weight gain
- Pelvic pain
If left untreated, PCOS can even result in heartbreaking or dangerous long-term complications.
- Breast cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Heart disease or attack
- High cholesterol
- Infertility or problems conceiving
If you have PCOS and do get pregnant, you may need extra attention. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have a higher rate of:
- Gestational diabetes
- Premature delivery
We recommend talking to your current physician or gynecologist about getting referred to a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancies.
On a brighter note, the earlier your PCOS is discovered and subsequently treated, the lower your risk of the aforementioned complications.
A Mystery Syndrome
Unfortunately, scientists and medical professionals do not know exactly what causes PCOS. We do know that it’s influenced by both hormonal imbalances and genetics. Any women whose mother or sister has PCOS should get checked as soon as possible, as this heightens her risk.
Androgen overproduction is also largely believed to be a contributing factor. Though all women’s bodies naturally produce some androgen, a male sex hormone, levels are usually higher in women who have PCOS. As mentioned earlier, infertility and trouble getting pregnant are both symptoms of this condition; the high levels of androgen can impact the development and release of eggs during ovulation.
High androgen levels are sometimes caused by having an excess of insulin in the body. Insulin is the hormone that helps convert starch and sugar into energy, so insulin resistance results in higher blood sugar levels. This is why untreated PCOS can result in diabetes over time.
When To Seek Medical Help
Typically, signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome begin soon after a woman’s first menstrual period; in some cases, it doesn’t rear its head until later during the reproductive years.
Like most illnesses, PCOS can affect every woman differently. All of the symptoms mentioned in the first section can worsen with obesity–an unfortunate domino effect since obesity is a common symptom in the first place.
When it comes to PCOS, “rather safe than sorry” is the best plan of action! If you have concerns about your cycle, fertility, or whether any symptom you’re experiencing may be from polycystic ovarian syndrome, it’s best to see your doctor. There are other potential explanations behind acne, unusual hair patterns, or irregular periods, but it’s always better to know for sure.
How PCOS is Diagnosed
There isn’t a single test for PCOS. Instead, your gynecologist will do a series of tests, examine your medical history, and try to rule out other potential conditions.
Here are some of the tests and procedures he or she may perform:
- A physical/pelvic exam to look for telltale signs of PCOS, such as:
- Swollen clitoris
- Swollen ovaries
- Blood tests to measure sex hormone levels
- Fasting glucose tests to measure blood sugar levels
- Lipid level tests that determine how much cholesterol is in your blood
- Thyroid function tests to assess the levels of thyroid hormone you’re producing
Your physician may perform a vaginal ultrasound, which allows him or her to generate images of internal reproductive organs. He or she may even recommend a pelvic laparoscopy, a procedure during which a tiny incision is made in your abdomen and camera is used to check for growths on your ovaries.
If the various tests and procedures sound overwhelming, rest assured that you probably won’t need all of them. And they certainly wouldn’t all be during your initial appointment!
What Signs are Being Examined?
Symptoms are things that you notice or feel and signs are things your doctor can measure or see.
Here are three signs your doctor may look for (although #1 is also a symptom!):
- Irregular periods – This can mean a variety of different things. Examples of irregular periods include:
- Cycle intervals longer than 35 days
- Less that eight periods per year
- No period for four months or longer
- Prolonged periods
- Extremely light prolonged periods
- Too-heavy prolonged periods
- Elevated androgen levels – As discussed earlier, excess androgens are what cause the upsetting physical symptoms of severe acne, thinning head hair, and too much face and body hair. Your doctor can use a hormone test to check your levels.
- Polycystic Ovaries – You’re probably not surprised to learn that polycystic ovaries are a sign of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome! Your physician will be able to recognize this sign by the ovaries’ enlarged size and multiple fluid-filled sacs surrounding the eggs.
PCOS Treatments and Lifestyle
Unfortunately there is not yet a cure for PCOS. Treatments involve controlling symptoms and preventing complications.
Some of these treatments include:
- Anti-androgens – Drugs that reduce male hormone levels are frequently prescribed to women with PCOS.
- Birth control pills – For women who aren’t trying to become pregnant, birth control pills are an excellent way to alleviate symptoms like acne and help lower androgen levels.
- Diabetes medications – Since diabetes is a potential side effect of PCOS, diabetes medications are sometimes helpful. They not only lower blood glucose, but can help with testosterone levels as well.
- Fertility drugs – If your PCOS is causing you to struggle with infertility, your doctor may prescribe a fertility drug such as Clomid.
- Surgery – Not every woman with PCOS will need surgery, but a procedure called ovarian drilling can be utilized in some cases. Ovarian drilling is only a short-term solution, but it can promote ovulation. The doctor punctures the ovary with a needle carrying an electric current; this strategically destroys part of the ovary.
- Treating your body right – Everyone should exercise, eat right, and avoid tobacco, but it’s especially true for women with PCOS! Here is a breakdown of the PCOS diet, including what to eat and what to avoid.
Want to know more?
Watching a video can bring the information to life and help you better visualize what is actually going on when you have PCOS.
Here are two great examples of physicians explaining the condition:
PCOS Clinical Trials in DeLand
If you live in the Orlando area and have PCOS, you may want to consider participating in one of our upcoming polycystic ovarian syndrome clinical trials. If you’re interested, our skilled doctors and nurses are available to answer any of your questions and help get you enrolled in the best study! Seeing if you qualify or simply getting more information is easy. Using the short form on this page, please provide us with your name, email and phone number, and one of our staff members will contact you shortly.
Haven’t participated in a clinical trial before? We understand that you probably have a number of questions and we’re here to answer all of them. In the meantime, we invite you to visit our clinical study participation resource section. This has plenty of great information about what it’s like to be in a clinical trial here at Avail Clinical Research.
Qualified participants are eligible to receive compensation for their involvement in one of our Florida clinical trials. They’ll also gain access to premium healthcare and study-related medication free of charge.
We also conduct studies to find treatments for many other medical conditions at our state-of-the-art facility here in DeLand. Plus, you don’t actually have to be living with a medical condition like PCOS in to qualify for a clinical trial. Sometimes healthy volunteers are needed too! If you are interested in helping us advance modern medicine or in taking an active role in your healthcare, please give us a call today at (386) 785-2400. We look forward to hearing from you!