Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder which is associated with ovulation problems and elevated estrogen and androgen (male hormone) levels.

PCOS affects 5-10% of women and the cause is unclear.  The risk of PCOS increases with obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, family history of diabetes or PCOS. The following symptoms are common in PCOS:

  • Ovarian enlargement from many small cysts.
  • Hyperandrogenism (elevated male hormone) which can cause hirsutism (increased hair growth on face, arms, legs, pubic to navel area) and acne.
  • Anovulation (absence of ovulation). The monthly release of an egg from ovary fails to take place; resulting in infertility.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Alopecia (thinning of the scalp hair).
  • Obesity.
  • Insulin resistance in 25 – 75% of PCOS patients.

 

PCOS increases the risk of Type II (adult onset) diabetes, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, endometrial cancer ( cancer of the uterine lining), gestational diabetes.

 

PCOS Treatments:

  • Obesity – Structured diet and exercise
  • Excess Hair – Medications to inhibit future growth; electrolysis, laser therapy, plucking, waxing to remove existing hair.
  • Medications to lower insulin levels, regulate menstrual cycle and induce ovulation are often prescribed.