Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that causes multiple fluid-filled sacs, called ovarian cysts, to grow on the ovaries due to a high amount of male hormones. This excess of male hormones may also affect menstrual cycles and fertility.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) include those related to higher levels of androgen in women such as:

  • Late or absent menstrual period
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Severe acne
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Enlarged ovaries
  • Fertility problems

How is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) diagnosed?

Signs of excessive hair growth, insulin resistance and acne should indicate higher levels of male hormones. Dr Lerm may also do an ultrasound and blood test to assess your blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well as whether there may another cause to these menstrual abnormalities.

How can this condition be treated?

Due to the excess of male hormones, complications such as infertility, miscarriages, liver inflammation, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea and abnormal uterine bleeding are more common in women who have PCOS. These also result in a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer, and therefore treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is essential.

Treatment will depend on your age and desire to have children and may include the following options:

  • Birth control may be prescribed to stabilise the hormone imbalance and keep menstruation regular
  • Progestin therapy medications may help regulate menstruation and reduce the risks of endometrial cancer.
  • Hormonal treatments such as anti-oestrogen medication, insulin lowering medication and Gonadotropins can also be considered.
  • Weight loss can help regulate your menstrual cycle and hormones as well as reduce your risk of developing diabetes.