Multidisciplinary PCOS Clinic helps girls with common hormone condition

Parenting an adolescent daughter, with her surging hormones and emotional changes, presents many challenges. Within a few short years, young women go through puberty, struggle with weight gain and body changes, deal with acne and cope with extreme mood swings. As these manifestations are all common to adolescence, what are the indications of underlying problems?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal disorders affecting female adolescents and women. Although symptoms typically begin at puberty, many young women do not seek treatment until much later in life. Addressing this need, pediatric endocrinologists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital teamed up with gynecologists at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital to create a one-of-a-kind program that provides early diagnosis and treatment of PCOS, helping to control symptoms and improve quality of life for these young women.

Early diagnosis, treatment benefits girls

“For reasons experts do not completely understand, PCOS occurs when hormones are out of balance in the brain and ovaries. This can manifest itself in a number of ways, leading to distressing symptoms and serious health problems down the line,” explains Abigail Glick, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. “The earlier we treat PCOS, the better chance we have of reducing the risk for long-term complications, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

Signs of PCOS include irregular or absent menstrual periods, increased facial and body hair and ovarian cysts, which can be detected through ultrasound. Other associated symptoms include acne, weight gain, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

“It can be difficult to identify PCOS because many of these symptoms occur in adolescent girls,” says Brooke Rossi, MD, Reproductive Endocrinologist at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital. “However, if your daughter started menstruation two years ago and is still dealing with missed or irregular periods, or if she has unwanted facial or body hair, she should be evaluated for PCOS.”

Treatment focuses on whole patient

The PCOS Clinic is unique in that it provides a multidisciplinary approach to care that focuses on the whole patient. PCOS physician experts prescribe various medications to regulate menstrual cycles, lower insulin levels and reduce unwanted hair growth. A nutritionist advises patients on how to make positive lifestyle changes and successfully manage weight. The services of a psychologist are available through referral to help girls deal with self-esteem issues, depression and other problems that often develop due to the condition.

“There is no standard treatment for PCOS. We get to know each patient and tailor her treatment plan to individual needs,” explains Dr. Rossi.

Dr. Glick adds, “We understand that it can be difficult for many girls to discuss the sensitive issues related to this condition. Through the PCOS Clinic, we have created an environment that is more comfortable for girls to talk about these issues and find real solutions.”

On the leading edge of treating young women

The PCOS Clinic is located at UH Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood and is accepting patients, ages 12 to 21. To make an appointment, call 216-844-3661.

ABIGAIL GLICK, MD

ABIGAIL GLICK, MD
Pediatric Endocrinologist,
UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
Instructor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

BROOKE ROSSI, MD

BROOKE ROSSI, MD
Reproductive Endocrinologist,
UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital
Clinical Instructor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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