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).
- 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.
- 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.