PCOS is very common, occurring in about 15-20% of the female population in the reproductive age group. It is more prevalent among Asian and Mediterranean women.
Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles that are up to 8mm (approximately 0.3 inch) in size.
While it is not certain if women are born with this condition, PCOS seems to run in families. This means that something that induces the condition is inheritable, and therefore influenced by one or more genes.
The basic problem is that the ovaries are producing too much of the male hormones, androgens.
Not all women with PCOS will have all of the symptoms, and each symptom can vary from mild to severe. Many women only experience menstrual problems and/or are unable to conceive.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular periods or no periods at all
- Difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
- Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and hair loss from the head
- Oily skin or acne
PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. Many women discover they have PCOS when they’re trying to get pregnant and are unsuccessful.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed.
If you have PCOS and you are overweight, losing weight and eating a healthy, balanced diet can make some symptoms better.
Medications are also available to treat symptoms such as excessive hair growth, irregular periods and fertility problems.
Clomid tablets are used to make women who have PCO ovulate if they have subfertility and lack of ovulation is the only underlying reason.
If fertility medications are ineffective, a simple surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) may be recommended.
This involves using heat or a laser to destroy the tissue in the ovaries that is producing androgens, such as testosterone.