polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
FAQs with Dr. Jean Chen: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. While the exact cause is unknown, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, and women with PCOS also have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes

The condition has a range of symptoms, including irregular periods, excessive hair growth, and polycystic ovaries.

PCOS is one of the most common diseases in females that is diagnosed and treated by endocrinologists. In this blog, Dr. Jean Chen answers some frequently asked questions about polycystic ovary syndrome and provides her expert insights on the condition.

What is an endocrinologist’s role in diagnosing and treating PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that can involve dysfunction of multiple endocrine glands, such as the ovaries, adrenal glands, and pituitary gland. This can, unfortunately, produce a hormone imbalance. PCOS is considered a diagnosis of exclusion and, therefore, a complete endocrine work up by an endocrinologist is often needed before a diagnosis of PCOS can be made.

Do you work with other physicians to help manage PCOS patients?

There are multiple complications of PCOS, and it does take a multidisciplinary team to provide comprehensive care. Our team of endocrinologists frequently need to work with primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and OB/gynecologists.

Why is diagnosing PCOS challenging? 

​The symptoms of PCOS can sometimes be nonspecific, and there are other endocrine disorders that can mimic PCOS, such as Cushing’s syndrome or congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Also, PCOS presents on a spectrum. Therefore, for some patients that do not necessarily have all the classical symptoms of PCOS or mild symptoms, the diagnosis can be missed.

When should you see a doctor for PCOS?

Patients should seek care from a medical provider when they are having symptoms of irregular periods and/or excess body/facial hair, weight gain, or acne.

Consult with an Austin Endocrinologist Today

Dr. Chen says that PCOS is a complex endocrine disease that is associated with several other comorbidities, such as insulin resistance, weight gain, infertility, and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, getting diagnosed as early as possible and having an endocrinologist on your care team is important.

To schedule an appointment with a PCOS specialist in Central Austin, South Austin or Round Rock, call 512-458-8400 or request an appointment online.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

Understanding Low Testosterone and How It Affects Men’s Health

What Causes Low Testosterone?

The testosterone hormone is secreted by the testes, which means it’s a part of the endocrine system. If a man is diagnosed with hypogonadism, it means they’re experiencing a blend of low testosterone along with a potential for a number of other bothersome symptoms.

Men with low testosterone are more likely to later develop diabetes. Testosterone helps the body’s tissues take up more blood sugar in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone more often have insulin resistance: they need to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar normal. Studies show that around 30-50% of men with Type 2 Diabetes have low testosterone.

Additionally, obesity and low testosterone have a close association with each other. Obese men are more likely to have low testosterone. And males with very low testosterone are also more likely to become obese.

Fat cells metabolize testosterone to estrogen and lower their levels. Also, obesity reduces levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that carries testosterone in the blood. Less SHBG translates to less free testosterone.

Losing weight through a healthy diet and exercise can increase testosterone levels. 

At the age of 40, men’s testosterone levels start to decline by around 1% with every passing year. Testosterone levels can be checked with the help of simple blood tests. The key is doing these tests consistently.

Treating Low Testosterone

One of the primary ways to combat low testosterone is through testosterone replacement therapy. This can help men improve their sex drive, muscle mass, bone health, and even their red blood cell count. If other health complications are causing low testosterone, it’s advised to focus on those before pursuing replacement therapy.  

At Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, we provide the following treatments for low testosterone:

  • Skin patches
  • Gels
  • Injections
  • Nasal spray

For more information about treatments for low testosterone, contact us here. And don’t forget to follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Austin TypeOneNation Summit

Dr. Tira Chaicha-Brom, MD ECNU, of Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, has joined a panel of experts who will be discussing Type 1 diabetes (T1D) and pregnancy at the upcoming Austin TypeOneNation Summit on Sunday, March 1, 2020.  

This educational conference is a great opportunity for those living with T1D, parents, caregivers, siblings and anyone interested in learning more about T1D. Topics include advancements in the treatment of T1D,  T1D and pregnancy and will showcase learning tracks for children and teens as well. Please join Dr. Chaicha-Brom at this important event.

Learn more and register today at bit.ly/TON2020


Do you have irregular periods? There are several reasons for missing periods, but one of the most common reasons is PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome.  

Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Missing periods (usually having less than 9 periods per year)
  • Excess testosterone on blood work or on exam (excess hair growth, acne)
  • Ovarian cysts

PCOS is a diagnosis of exclusion so other diseases like thyroid or other hormone problems should be ruled out before making the diagnosis of PCOS.  The diagnosis is based on symptoms, laboratory findings, and sometimes imaging studies.

The risk of having PCOS is that it can be associated with diabetes or insulin resistance, sleep apnea, cardiovascular disease, weight issues, uterine cancer, infertility, and sleep apnea.

The cause of PCOS is unknown and treatment involves controlling the symptoms.  A healthy lifestyle with weight loss can oftentimes improve symptoms and prevent associated medical complications.  Birth control pills are typically used to help regulate periods and can sometimes decrease facial hair or acne. Metformin is another medication that is typically used to help control the blood sugar.

When a woman has regular periods, this is a good indication that her hormones are appropriate. 

You should let your healthcare provider know if you have irregular periods or excess hair growth or acne in order to do a proper evaluation.

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