Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that results in enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts, while some women without the disorder do develop cysts. The cause is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. PCOS is a condition that is characterized by a hormonal imbalance that can cause the ovaries not to release an egg each month, resulting in irregular or absent periods. Additionally, PCOS may cause high levels of androgens, male sex hormones that are usually present in women in small amounts.
Most Common Symptoms
- irregular menstrual cycle
- ovaries that are large or have many cysts
- excess hair growth (male hormones)
- abnormal hair growth on the face, chest, or back
- weight gain
- pelvic pain
- acne and darkening of the skin
- thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp
- It affects 1 in 10 American women of childbearing age.
- Up to 70% of affected women remain undiagnosed worldwide.
- While infertility may be an issue with PCOS, you should not assume that you can’t get pregnant
Who gets PCOS?
Between 5% and 10% of women between 15 and 44 have PCOS. Most women find out that they have PCOS in their 20s and 30s, but PCOS can happen at any age after puberty.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There’s no single test to diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) precisely. Your healthcare
provider will likely start by discussing your symptoms, medications, and your other medical conditions. Your provider also may ask about your menstrual periods and any weight changes. A physical exam includes checking for signs of excess hair growth, insulin resistance, and acne. They may recommend a pelvic exam, blood test, and ultrasound. To manage the condition, changes in lifestyle and specific medications can be helpful.
Visit us in Cincinnati for pregnancy testing, STI testing, and other reproductive care services. Make an appointment above, or walk-ins are welcome.
U.S. Department of Health
Posted on November 20, 2023 View the blog