It’s not easy being a teenage girl. There’s a natural anxiety that sneaks up on you when trying to juggle boys, friends, parents, school, and activities that goes hand in hand with the teenage experience. However, for some young women, there are added anxieties such as excessive weight gain, uncontrollable acne, and/or missed or absent periods that threaten the delicate balance that keeps their lives humming along in relative harmony. Though these symptoms are generally seen as common problems associated with puberty, they can point to a larger condition that is becoming more prevalent in young women: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS is the most common reproductive endocrinological disorder in women today. It can occur in girls as young as eleven, manifesting itself in as much as 11.2 percent of women in their reproductive years, with perhaps 50 percent of this group being made up of adolescent girls. Despite these figures, PCOS remains difficult to diagnose in adolescent girls because the underlying cause of PCOS, insulin resistance, remains difficult to detect at a young age even with appropriate testing. (1)
Determining whether or not a teen has PCOS can be critical to ensuring her overall long-term health. This is because many serious complications including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels can develop if PCOS is not appropriately treated. The good news is that PCOS can be reversed with the right treatment, such as with Insulite Labs’ 5 Element System for controlling the symptoms caused by PCOS. This system combines the use of nutraceuticals (vitamins, minerals and herbs), diet and exercise, and customer support to guide women with PCOS to a healthier lifestyle.
So what should you do if you suspect that you or a teenage girl you know may be suffering from PCOS? First, you should review the following checklist to identify potential symptoms that you or she may be suffering from:
- Irregular or absent menses
- Heavier than normal bleeding
- Insulin resistance
- Ovarian cysts
- Hirsutism (excessive facial or body hair)
- Alopecia (balding)
- Skin tags (growths on the skin)
- Brown skin patches
- Reduced sex drive
- Sleep apnea (trouble breathing during sleeping)
- Exhaustion/lack of mental alertness
- Thyroid problems
- Depression and/or anxiety
If you checked off one or more of these symptoms, don’t delay making an appointment with a doctor to confirm the diagnosis. The earlier a teenager is diagnosed and makes an action plan to reverse the symptoms caused by PCOS, the better off mentally and physically she will be. Early diagnosis also means that she will be prepared to deal with the challenges associated with PCOS when approaching her childbearing years and beyond.
1. Weight Discrimination Could Be as Common as Racial Bias- Svetlana Shkolnikova, USA Today on ABCNews.com, May 21, 2008