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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

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.
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