What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder. Women with PCOS has many tiny cysts in their ovaries. These cysts are filled with fluids and contain immature eggs. If you have this condition, your ovaries will be enlarged.
PCOS can cause problems with menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance. You might have heavy menstruation and excessive body or facial hair. This is because this disorder makes your body produce more male hormone than female.
How common is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
This health condition is common. It affects between 1 in 10 and 1 in 20 women of childbearing age suffers from PCOS. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
The common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are:
- Weight gain and trouble losing weight;
- Extra hair on the face and body. Often women get thicker and darker facial hair and more hair on the chest, belly, and back;
- Deeper voice;
- Thinning hair on the scalp;
- Irregular periods;
The hormone imbalance in PCOS might lead to some other medical concerns, such as type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
There is not yet a clear cause for polycystic ovary syndrome. However, some suggest that genetics might play a role in PCOS, as many women whose mother or sister has the condition also have PCOS.
Low-grade inflammation might also be related by stimulating polycystic ovaries to produce androgens. Excess insulin might also affect the ovaries by increasing androgen production, which may interfere with the ovaries’ ability to ovulate.
What increases my risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
There are many risk factors for polycystic ovary syndrome, such as:
- You are at a higher risk if someone in your family has the condition.
- You have other medical conditions that affect hormone balance in your body.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) diagnosed?
There is no test to predict polycystic ovary syndrome. Most cases are diagnosed when the women come to the doctor to ask you’re their problems. Your doctor will ask about the symptoms you are experiencing and your family history with health conditions, or if you are on any other treatment.
To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor will request a few tests:
- Blood tests: to measure hormone level in general.
- Thyroid tests: to check for an overactive or underactive thyroid.
- Glucose tests: to show insulin resistance.
- Lipid level test: PCOS might make your cholesterol and triglycerides level abnormal.
Imaging tests (CT-scan, ultrasound) might be needed to check the size of your ovaries. If your doctor suspects any growth, a pelvic laparoscopy will show the complexity of the growth. Biopsy might be performed to check for cancerous cells.
How is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) treated?
Treatment aims at controlling the symptoms and prevents further growth of the ovaries. Depend on the symptom, your treatment course might vary.
- To regulate menstruation, you will need birth control pills – pills that contain both estrogen and progestin. If you are trying to get pregnant, you might need the assistance of some medications.
- Forsome women, surgery might be recommended to promote ovulation and reduce male hormone levels. The surgery is called ovarian drilling, where your doctor will puncture your ovaries with small holes. However, this is only a temporary solution.
- To treat acne and hair growth, you will be given anti-androgens to control male hormone levels.
- To balance insulin and sugar level, diabetes medications are needed.
Lifestyle changes & Home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):
- Keeping a healthy weight by eating diet low in refined carbohydrates;
- Exercise can also help the body regulate insulin;
- If you smoke, consider quitting.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: June 30, 2017 | Last Modified: July 1, 2017
What is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)? http://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease#Overview1. Accessed July 24, 2016.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - Topic Overview. http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview. Accessed July 24, 2016.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). http://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/womens-health/polycystic-ovary-syndrome. Accessed July 24, 2016.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/basics/definition/con-20028841. Accessed July 24, 2016.