Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Also called: PCOS, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) happens when a woman's ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal. PCOS causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to grow on the ovaries. Symptoms include

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, or thighs
  • Weight gain
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Patches of thickened skin

Women with PCOS are at higher risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

PCOS is more common in women who are obese, or have a mother or sister with PCOS. To diagnose PCOS, your health care provider may do a physical exam, pelvic exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound.

There is no cure, but diet, exercise, and medicines can help control the symptoms. Birth control pills help women have normal periods, reduce male hormone levels, and clear acne. Treatments for infertility caused by PCOS may include medicines, surgery, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The following features are indicative of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • irregular periods
  • excess androgen level
  • hirsutism
  • adult acne
  • severe adolescent acne
  • androgenic alopecia
  • infertility
  • weight gain
  • hypermenorrhea
  • metabolic syndrome
  • insulin resistance
  • secondary amenorrhea
  • skin changes
  • enlargement of the clitoris
  • deepening of the voice
  • decrease in breast size
  • pelvic pain
  • oily skin
It is possible that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The following are the most common causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • excess insulin
  • low-grade inflammation
  • genetic factors

Risk Factors for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • genetic factors
  • weight gain

Prevention of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

No, it is not possible to prevent Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
  • genetic factors

Occurrence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 15-60 years

Common Gender

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome most commonly occurs in the following gender:
  • Female

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • Physical exam: To check height, weight and blood pressure
  • Pelvic exam: To inspect reproductive organs for signs of masses, growths or other abnormalities
  • Blood tests: To measure the levels of several hormones
  • Ultrasound: To check the appearance of ovaries and the thickness of the lining of uterus

Doctor for Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • Gynecologist

Complications of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome if untreated

Yes, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is left untreated:
  • type 2 diabetes
  • hypertension
  • cholesterol and lipid abnormalities
  • metabolic syndrome
  • nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
  • infertility
  • sleep apnea
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • abnormal uterine bleeding
  • endometrial cancer
  • gestational diabetes
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • breast cancer

Self-care for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • Regular exercise: Helps to treat or prevent insulin resistance and keep weight under control
  • High-fiber carbohydrates diet: Helps maintaining normal levels of insulin
  • Maintain healthy weight: Helps to reduce insulin and androgen levels and to restore ovulation

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome:
  • Take myo-inositol supplementation: Helps improving several of the hormonal disturbances of polycystic ovary syndrome

Time for Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Related Topics

Ovarian Cysts

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