Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how a womans ovaries work.
Thethree main features of PCOS are:
If you have at least two of these features you may be diagnosed with PCOS. In PCOS, thesesacs are often unable to release an egg, which means thatovulation doesn't take place.
It's difficult to know exactly how many women have PCOS, but it's thought to be very common affecting about one in every five women in the UK. More than half of these women don't have any symptoms.
If you do have signs and symptoms of PCOS , they'llusually become apparent during your late teens or early twenties. They can include:
PCOS is also associated with an increased risk of developing health problems in later life, such as type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but itoften runs in families. It's related to abnormal hormone levels in the body, including high levels of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that controls sugar levels in the body. Many women with PCOS are resistant to the action of insulin in their body and produce higher levels of insulin to overcome this.
This contributes to the increased production and activity of hormones such as testosterone. Being overweight or obese also increases the amount of insulin your body produces.
Speak to your GP if you think you may have the condition.
If you have PCOS and you're overweight, losing weight and eating a healthy, balanceddiet can make some symptoms better.
Medications are also available to treat symptoms such as excessive hair growth, irregular periods and fertility problems.
If fertility medications are ineffective, a simple surgical procedure calledlaparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) may be recommended. This involves using heat or a laser to destroy the tissue in the ovaries that's producing androgens, such as testosterone.
With treatment, most women with PCOS are able to get pregnant.
Read about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a common condition that affects how a woman's ovaries work.
Find out about the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), including irregular or absent periods, weight gain, fertility problems, thinning hair and hair loss.
The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is unknown, but it's thought to be related to abnormal hormone levels.
Your GP or specialist may request an ultrasound scan, which can show if you have a high number of cysts in your ovaries (polycystic ovaries).
Read about the treatments for managing the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), such as lifestyle changes, medication and surgery.