If your teen daughter has been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), she’s not alone. About one in 10 teen girls has this condition, which causes the ovaries to produce excess male hormones.
It’s important to make sure your teen gets treatment for PCOS because having this condition increases her risk of developing serious health conditions as she gets older, including:
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- Endometrial hyperplasia and cancer
- Sleep apnea
- Mental health issues
In addition to these troublesome health issues, PCOS causes a number of frustrating symptoms, such as acne, irregular periods, unwanted facial and body hair, hyperpigmentation, and weight gain.
The good news is that by seeking treatment from a PCOS specialist like board-certified OB/GYN Daniel S. Kushner, MD, and his team in White Plains and Queens, New York, your daughter’s frustrating symptoms can improve. Here’s a look at our top tips for how you can help your daughter with PCOS.
Make sure your daughter gets medical care
Because there’s no cure for PCOS, it’s important that your daughter gets regular medical care to help manage her condition. You can help by keeping in contact with her doctor and providing insights as to how her treatment and condition progresses.
Be sure to partner with your daughter in selecting an OB/GYN who specializes in PCOS care. Providers like Dr. Kushner understand the multifaceted nature of PCOS and can recommend appropriate therapies, treatments, and lifestyle changes to help manage the condition.
Recognize the hardships of PCOS
Having PCOS is hard on the body, but it’s also hard on a young girl’s self-esteem. The emotional side of PCOS is as serious as the physical, and it’s just as important to address. You can help by recognizing the hardships your daughter is experiencing and helping her find solutions.
For example, if your daughter is embarrassed by excessive facial or body hair, you can take her shopping for over-the-counter products like depilatory creams, tweezers, or waxes. Or you can look into more permanent solutions, such as laser treatments.
If she’s concerned about acne, support her concerns and schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for treatment. Dermatologists can also help with any skin discoloration your daughter may experience.
Many girls with PCOS experience anxiety or depression. If you notice mental health symptoms, or if your daughter raises them, schedule an appointment with a therapist or counselor.
Talk to your daughter about her treatment options
A number of treatment options can effectively manage polycystic ovary syndrome. Talk to your daughter about her options, and be sure to help her get answers to any questions she may have when she visits with Dr. Kushner.
One of the most common treatments is birth control pills that can help restore hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS and reduce symptoms. Your doctor may also recommend including anti-androgens to help reverse the effects of the excess male hormones PCOS triggers. This can often help minimize hair growth and improve acne.
Another medication used to treat PCOS is insulin-sensitizing drugs that help the body respond better to insulin, improving ovulation and decreasing male hormone levels.
Support lifestyle changes to help PCOS
Most PCOS treatment plans include a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. One of the best ways to help your daughter with PCOS is by supporting efforts she can make to improve her symptoms. Two of the best lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise.
Encourage your daughter to eat for PCOS by helping her to build her diet around healthy fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like beans and legumes, and plant-based fats like avocados, nuts, and seeds. Help her steer clear or processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and junk foods.
Regular exercise helps reduce inflammation and issues with insulin resistance. Encourage your daughter to participate in sports at school if she enjoys them, or schedule time to walk together after work or school. You can think about getting a gym membership together or joining a local pool.
To learn more about helping your daughter with PCOS, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Kushner at the New York office nearest you.