Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that doctors associate with an imbalance in female sex hormones. The imbalance can lead to a variety of symptoms and may affect a woman's fertility.

Causes

It is unknown, what causes polycystic ovarian syndrome, but it may involve genetic factors. If a woman's mother or sister has the condition, she has a higher chance than others of developing it. Along with a genetic link, excess insulin in the body also increases a woman's risk of developing PCOS. Insulin is a hormone that the pancreas produces, and the body uses to convert sugar in food into energy. Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance involves the body's inability to lower blood sugar levels correctly. Blood sugar levels can become too high, which causes yet more insulin production. Too much insulin also increases testosterone production, which leads to some of the symptoms of PCOS.

Symptoms

Symptoms can occur at any age or time during a person's reproductive years. Symptoms can also change over time.

Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include the following:

Not everyone with PCOS will have the same signs or symptoms.

 

Treatment

Currently, there is no cure for PCOS. However, treatment can increase the chances of conceiving in those who wish to become pregnant. It can also help people to manage their symptoms. Symptoms vary between individuals, and so treatment is not always the same. Options also depend on whether or not a person wishes to become pregnant.

 

Treatment for PCSO symptoms may include:

  • Birth control pills to help correct hormonal imbalances.

  • Insulin-sensitizing drugs to improve the body's use of insulin and so testosterone production, too.

  • In the case of diabetes, medication to control blood sugar levels.

  • Exercise and healthful eating to help boost overall wellbeing and control weight.

 

Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce insulin and testosterone levels and improve symptoms.