Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal condition that women can get during their childbearing years. It can affect your ability to have a child (your doctor will call it your fertility).

Causes of PCOS

  • Doctors don’t know all of the reasons why some women get PCOS.

  • You might be more likely to have PCOS if your sister or mother also has it.

  • It could also be related to problems that make your body produce too much insulin, which can affect your ovaries and their ability to ovulate (or release eggs).

Symptoms of PCOS

The most common PCOS symptoms are missed, irregular, infrequent, or prolonged periods. Excess androgens can cause hair loss, hair in places you don’t want it (like on your face), and acne. Other symptoms include:

  • Darkened skin or excess skin (skin tags) on the neck or in the armpits

  • Mood changes

  • Pelvic pain

  • Weight gain around your middle

Diagnosis of PCOS

  • No single test can diagnose PCOS.

  • Your doctor will start by asking about your symptoms and medical history and by doing a physical exam, and possibly a pelvic exam.

  • They might give you blood tests to measure your hormone levels, blood sugar, and cholesterol.

  • An ultrasound can check your ovaries for cysts, look for tumors, and measure the lining of your uterus.

Treatment of PCOS

  • Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and whether you want to become pregnant.

  • If you’re overweight, losing a little even 5% to 10% of your weight can make you feel better.

  • It also might help the way your medications work and improve your fertility.

  • Your doctor may tell you to take the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) to lower insulin resistance, regulate ovulation, and help with weight loss.

  • If you aren’t planning to get pregnant, your doctor might prescribe hormonal birth control, like the skin patch or the pill.

  • These medications can help lower your risk of endometrial cancer, get your periods on track, clear up acne, and lessen extra body hair. If you do want to get pregnant, fertility medications can help your ovaries release eggs.

  • Ask your doctor about medications to treat body hair and acne.

diseases treatments health reproductive-system disorders polycystic-ovary-syndrome prevention

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