Depending on your relationship and when you were diagnosed with PCOS, you will most likely want to tell your partner at some point. Chances are they’ll have lots of questions. The most important thing you can do to prepare is make sure that you understand the syndrome well enough yourself to answer them.
Here are some common questions your partner may have, and some quick answers.
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries and in some cases the adrenal glands, produce more androgens (a type of hormone, similar to testosterone) than normal.
While all women produce some androgens, women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have higher levels of these hormones, leading to increased hair growth, acne, and irregular periods. Women with PCOS experience these issues in varying degrees, and no two women with the condition are identical.
PCOS is associated with an imbalance of the endocrine system but it is still not known exactly what causes those changes.
The main theories behind PCOS include genetics, a misfiring of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian axis and a relationship between insulin and androgen.
The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Ovarian (HPO) axis is a hormonal control system in the body. The hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone that travels to the pituitary gland, which releases a slew of hormones, including follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
LH stimulates the ovaries to produce androgens.
One theory is that high levels of LH and androgens, such as testosterone, cause PCOS.
The insulin-androgen connection theorizes that insulin — which is typically high in women with PCOS — decrease the production of sex-hormone binding globulin, or SHBG. When SHBG is present, testosterone is carried in the blood, but if a reduced amount of SHBG is available, more free testosterone is in the blood.
High insulin levels are also believed to increase the amount of androgens that the ovary produces.