You May Have a Growth Hormone Problem, Not PCOS

PCOS is a hormonal condition that occurs in 1/10 women. Growth hormone deficiency is now emerging as an important cause of menstrual change and testing for this does exist.

It is important to find out if you suffer from Polycyclic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) as over 7 million women in the US have this condition, which when left untreated can cause uterine lining cancer, diabetes, infertility, and obesity. For many women it can be managed simply with nutrition and exercise. However, for women with full blown PCOS management needs to be determined based on testing. Testing for male hormones, testing for lack of ovulation, and testing for metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease is standard for the evaluation of PCOS.

Newest treatment protocols also have highlighted important hormonal conditions that the patient may have that looks like PCOS, but may be a different disorder altogether. This has physicians testing for acromegaly, a disorder of growth hormone deficiency which a hormone produced from the pituitary gland. Although distinct from PCOS patients with acromegaly can have weight gain and menstrual abnormalities and be mistakenly diagnosed with PCOS.

Acromegly patients can also have enlarged tongue and voice box leading to sleep apnea, headaches, joint and point problems including carpel tunnel syndrome, and a variety of heart problems including enlarged hearts or heart muscle damage.

Mild forms of Growth hormone deficiency can cause excess abdominal and viseral fat, wrinkles, fatigue, and seen as women age and transition through menopause.

If you have had treatments for PCOS that just aren’t relieving your medical conditions, consider the appropriate hormone testing for acromegly after consultation with your gyno.

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Suzanne Trupin, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and owner of Women's Health Practice, Hada Cosmetic Medicine, and Hatha Yoga and Fitness

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