Just because you are a teenager who has been diagnosed with PCOS, it doesn’t mean that you are powerless to take control of your health. While you may not have the legal right to make decisions about your care, the more you know about the disorder makes it easier to have clear, effective discussions with your doctor and parents. If you feel strongly about pursuing one form of treatment or avoiding another, learn everything you can about your options and why you feel that way. Having an adult conversation where you reference specific and well-thought out evidence, is more effective in getting your point across than an emotional argument.
Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or healthcare professional any questions that you may have about PCOS; they are your best reference and can give you the most up-to-date, medically accurate information. Here are a few suggestions:
Can I still take the pill if I smoke, even only socially?There is a known association between the risk of severe side effects of the birth control pill and smoking. Be honest with the doctor about your smoking habit, even if it’s only a few cigarettes a day or only on the weekend. If he feels that it isn’t safe for you to take the pill based on that information, he can give you advice on quitting or another treatment suggestion. Remember that in most cases, the doctor can’t tell your parents what you tell him or her, so be honest.
I am sexually active. How does that affect PCOS?
Since the birth control pill
is not only effective in treating PCOS symptoms, but also for preventing unwanted pregnancies, in most cases, the doctor will recommend that you take it. But there are a few things you should know before starting your prescription. First, you must take it the same time every single day. If you miss a day or two, the pill will not work and you may become pregnant. Second, the pill does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections. You must use an alternate form of barrier birth control, like a condom, to protect your health.
Am I at a healthy weight?
This may be a difficult question to ask, but an important one. There are many known health complications that result from being overweight or obese, like heart disease and diabetes. The scary thing is that there are many teens getting these diseases, which are usually diagnosed well into adulthood. If the doctor recommends that you lose weight, ask for a specific weight or weight range. You can also ask for suggestions to make the process a little easier. The doctor should be able to provide you with specific diet and exercise guidelines
to make your weight loss effort more effective. He can also recommend other health professionals that can provide you with additional care.
What are my treatment options?There are many different options available to women with PCOS. Ask your doctor about what he recommends and why. Other questions might include positive or negatives about the treatment and if there are any other alternatives. Check about side effects or risks of using that medication or treatment plan.
How do I prevent complications associated with PCOS later in life?There are known health issues associated with PCOS that typically appear later in life. Having PCOS puts you at greater risk for developing endometrial cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, but you should ask your doctor about your particular risks, given your family and medical history. There are steps you can take now to prevent or minimize your risk for developing these complications, but you should ask your doctor about specific measures that you should follow.