Polycystic Ovary

What is PCOS?


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common reproductive disorder, affecting 5% to 10 % of women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS have a number of conditions that may include irregular menstrual cycles, an increase in facial and body hair, increased weight and infertility.


How is PCOS diagnosed?


Diagnosis is made on a combination of clinical, laboratory and ultrasound findings. On exam, women who have PCOS usually complain of irregular or missed menstrual periods or a long time between periods. They may also be overweight, have increased hair growth (hirsutism), acne or be unable to get pregnant.

On ultrasound, many women with PCOS have enlarged ovaries with many small cysts. Blood tests may show high blood sugar, high cholesterol levels, or high levels of male hormones.


What risks do women with PCOS have?


Some of the risks are related to irregular ovulation, when ovulation doesn’t happen, it interrupts the usual hormone cycle and causes levels of estrogen to rise making the lining of the uterus to become thick and cause abnormal bleeding. This lack of regular ovulation can make it difficult to get pregnant.

Metabolic syndrome is common in women’s with PCOS symptoms include extra weight around the middle part of the body , high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance/diabetes. Each of these symptoms raises the risk of heart disease. Obesity is common in women with PCOS.


How is infertility in women with PCOS treated?


One way to treat infertility is to cause ovulation using medicine prescribed by the doctor. If a woman is overweight, losing weight can help improve ovulation patterns and fertility. Insulin-sensitizing medicines can help the body use insulin more effectively to improve ovulation in some patients with PCOS. This may also lower the risk of developing diabetes or metabolic syndrome. In Vitro Fertilization(IVF) may help women with PCOS get pregnant if other treatments do not work.


How is PCOS treated in women not trying to get pregnant?


In fertility is not the goal, taking hormone medication usually helps to correct PCOS systems. Oral contraceptive pills are often taken to reduce extra hair growth and acne. The contraceptive pills can also make menstrual periods more regular and prevent pregnancy and some types of cancer.

Excess hair and acne can be treated with medicines that lower male hormones. Excess hair can also be removed using electrolysis and laser treatment. Losing weight lowers the risk of diabetes and androgen levels in many women with PCOS.

Treatment should be tailored to each woman’s needs, symptoms, and particular situation and may change over time. Talk with the specialized doctor to find the best approach.