by Veeren Chithriki
Memorial Satilla Health Buzz - Care Like Family

Have you been struggling with weight gain and low energy levels? Are you trying to get pregnant but can’t? You may be suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a genetic condition often misunderstood and sometimes misdiagnosed. Recent research has improved awareness and diagnosis. 

Weight gain, acne, obesity, fertility issues and low energy are common symptoms of PCOS. The syndrome is a genetic condition with an environmental component, but it can be controlled and reversed once diagnosed. 

PCOS often presents at the time of puberty with irregular cycles followed by weight gain and acne, but the syndrome can also show up in late teen years or early 20’s. 

Weight gain, acne and irregular periods are common symptoms of other conditions which can be individually treated so PCOS can go undetected for years. Later in life, women with PCOS often struggle with obesity, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

Often times the obesity associated with PCOS is ‘male pattern’ obesity with fat around the abdomen and organs.  Other manifestations of PCOS are skin tags, dark patches on the skin and neck, and small brown moles – all results of increased insulin. Elevated insulin, or insulin resistance, has been implicated in early heart disease and even cancers.  Keeping insulin levels within normal range is definitely beneficial for long life. 

Irregular cycles will sometimes prompt a patient with PCOS to visit her pediatrician or gynecologist. But, a high degree of clinical suspicion is needed to perform blood tests and do ultrasounds to diagnose PCOS. Elevated insulin and testosterone will show up in blood tests and small cystic ovaries can be detected on an ultrasound. Even though most PCOS patients may be on the heavy side, 20 percent have not experienced weight gain. 

Women with PCOS can experience problems getting pregnant because they aren’t ovulating regularly. For women in their 40s and 50s, PCOS can lead to an increased risk of endometrial cancer.

A balanced diet and exercise can help control PCOS. Perhaps the most effective treatment for this syndrome is implementation of a low carbohydrate diet, excluding soft drinks and fast food. Weight loss of 10-15 pounds frequently results in regular cycles and success in getting pregnant. If a patient’s insulin levels are persistently elevated, Metformin is helpful. If pregnancy is the goal, a medication to induce ovulation such as Clomid or Letrozole is often prescribed. New medicines such as Wegovy, Mounjaro, and Saxenda can greatly aid in weight loss and reverse polycystic ovary syndrome, but the cost of these medications sometimes makes them prohibitive. 

For more information about Women’s Services at Memorial Satilla Health or to make an appointment, visit 

About the author

Dr. Veeren Chithriki, MDDr. Veeren Chithriki, MD is a board-certified obstetrics and gynecology specialist who holds over 11 years of extensive experience in providing comprehensive, personalized care. He holds a special interest in performing complex gynecologic procedures and addressing breast diseases, such as cysts and fibroadenomas. His goal is to provide safe, efficient and comfortable care for his patients. Good, honest communication is fundamental to a safe and trusting doctor-patient relationship, Chithriki says. 

About Memorial Satilla Health

Memorial Satilla Health is a mission-driven, community-based health system with a 231-bed full-service hospital. Our tradition of care began more than 60 years ago and continues today with more than 600 employees, physicians and volunteers. The hospital serves as regional referral center for more than 185,000 residents across nine counties in Southeast Georgia. Key services include a very busy ER where we treat more than 47,000 emergencies each year; our Heart, Cancer, Surgery, Rehabilitation, Sleep and Birthing Centers with specialists trained specifically for these needs; and an extensive Mental Health program for senior adults and those suffering with memory loss.