Polycystic ovary syndrome causes irregular menstrual cycles, excessive body or facial hair and polycystic ovaries among women of reproductive age, characterized by the presence of clusters of small, pearl-sized cysts in the ovaries.
Polycystic ovary syndrome often begins after menarche. In some cases, PCOS develops later during the reproductive years. Signs and symptoms of this condition can help doctors to diagnose, including at least two of these following signs:
- Irregular periods: such as, menstrual cycle longer than 35 days; fewer than eight menstrual cycles a year; failure to menstruate for four months or longer; and prolonged periods…
- Excess androgen characterized by excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), adult acne or severe adolescent acne, and male-pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia).
- Polycystic ovaries.Ovaries become enlarged and contain numerous small fluid-filled sacs which surround the eggs.
If you’re experiencing infertility or if you have these signs, you should contact your doctor.
Some other exam can help to determine the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, including:
- Physical exam: your height, weight and blood pressure.
- Pelvic exam: to detect visually and manually your reproductive organs for signs of masses, growths or other abnormalities.
- Blood tests. to exclude possible causes of menstrual abnormalities or androgen excess that mimic PCOS and determine glucose tolerance test
- Ultrasound: to see the appearance of your ovaries and the thickness of the lining of your uterus.
The cause of PCOS is not known, but these factors may play a role:
- Excess insulin by increasing androgen production, which may interfere with the ovaries’ ability to ovulate.
- Low-grade inflammation by stimulating polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.
Currently, PCOS has no cure, but an early diagnosis and a variety of PCOS treatments can help alleviate the symptoms of this disease, including infertility.
Lifestyle changes: containing a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities to control weigh.
Medications are prescribed to:
- Regulate your menstrual cycle, including: combination birth control pills to obtain the hormone balance and metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet, others) to improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels.
- Help you ovulate, such as: Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene); gonadotropins — follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH); letrozole (Femara).
- Reduce excessive hair growth: spironolactone (Aldactone) to block the effects of androgens on the skin; Eflornithine (Vaniqa), etc.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview#1. Accessed August 29, 2016.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.html. Accessed August 29, 2016.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. http://www.hormone.org/diseases-and-conditions/womens-health/polycystic-ovary-syndrome. Accessed August 29, 2016.