Polycystic ovary syndrome affects 10 percent of women and people who have been assigned a woman at birth. The term polycystic ovaries describes ovaries that contain many small follicles that have not matured to be ovulated. These so-called “cysts,” which are not actually cysts and are found in about one in five women, were initially thought to cause PCOS. However, polycystic ovaries are now understood to be just a possible symptom of the disease. What are the other symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?
What is PCOS?
According to the PCOS charity Verity, PCOS is one of the leading causes of fertility problems in women.
The condition can lead to other health issues later in life if not properly managed, and it can also impact your appearance and self-esteem.
You cannot cure PCOS, but there are many treatments available to help manage the symptoms.
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8 signs you might have polycystic ovary syndrome
The exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, but it is understood that many women with PCOS have insulin resistance and their bodies make more insulin than normal to compensate.
This hormonal imbalance in addition to the abnormal levels of luteinizing hormone, testosterone, follicle stimulating hormone, progesterone, and sex-binding globulin hormone causes a range of difficult symptoms.
The NHS website lists irregular periods, excess androgens, and polycystic ovaries as the three main features of PCOS, and if you have at least two, you can be diagnosed with the disease.
However, the PCOS charity Verity has a more detailed list of symptoms experienced by people with PCOS.
If you are diagnosed, your doctor may offer annual blood pressure checks and diabetes screenings.
To be diagnosed, your doctor will need to test your hormones, check your blood pressure, and possibly perform an ultrasound.
Your GP may refer you to a gynecologist or endocrinologist to discuss how to manage your symptoms.
Possible treatments include things like lifestyle changes such as exercising, changing your diet, or losing weight if you are overweight.
However, you may also be offered the birth control pill, a fertility drug called clomiphene, IVF, drugs to control excessive hair growth or hair loss, or a surgery called laparoscopic ovarian drilling.