POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (full)
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (full)
POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders
among women of reproductive age.
PCOS is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen (a
steroid hormone, produced mainly in the ovaries that stimulates estrus and the
development of female secondary characteristics) and progesterone (a sex
hormone produced in women, first by the corpus luteum of the ovary to
prepare the womb for the fertilised ovum and later by the placenta to maintain
pregnancy) are out of balance.
This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS
can cause problems with a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, doctors believe that hormonal
imbalances and genetics play a role. Women are likely to develop PCOS if their
mother or sister also has the condition.
Overproduction of the hormone androgen may be another contributing factor.
Androgen is a male sex hormone that women’s bodies also produce. Women
with PCOS often produce higher-than-normal levels of androgen. This can
affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Excess insulin (a
hormone that helps convert sugars and starches into energy) may cause high
Symptoms of PCOS typically start soon after a woman begins to menstruate.
The type and severity of symptoms varies from person to person. The most
common characteristic of PCOS is irregular menstrual periods.
Because PCOS is marked by a decrease in female sex hormones, this condition
may cause women to develop certain male characteristics, such as:
Hirtuism (excess hair on the face, chest, stomach, thumbs and toes)
Decrease in breast size
Other symptoms include:
Weight gain/inability to lose weight/obesity
Pelvic and lower abdominal pain
Anxiety or depression
Darkened patches of skin
Fatigue and increase in stress levels
Acne and oily skin
Decreased sex drive
Multiple follicles(cysts on the ovaries)
Whiles not symptoms of the disease, many women with PCOS have other
concurrent health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular
disease and high cholesterol. These are linked to the weight gain typical in
There is no definitive test for PCOS. To make a diagnosis, doctors will review
the patient’s medical history and symptoms and perform tests to rule out
other possible conditions.
The doctor will perform a physical and pelvic examination to look for signs of
PCOS, such as swollen ovaries or a swollen clitoris.
Blood tests to measure hormone levels are typically ordered as well as:
Thyroid function tests to determine how much of the thyroid hormone
your body produces.
Fasting glucose tests to measure your blood sugar levels
Lipid level tests to assess the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
A vaginal ultrasound allows the gynaecologist to create real-time images of the
reproductive organs. A pelvic laparoscopy makes a small incision in your
abdomen and inserts a tiny camera to check for growths on the ovaries. If
growths are present, the doctor may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for
Treatment for PCOS is not curative. Treatment focuses on controlling
symptoms and managing the condition to prevent complications. The
treatment will vary from woman to woman, depending on the specific
A healthy diet and regular exercise is recommended for women who are
overweight. This can help regulate menstrual cycles and lower blood glucose to
Women who do not want to become pregnant may be prescribed birth control
pills. These can help treat acne, regulate the menstrual cycle and lower levels
of male hormones such as testosterone in the body. If a woman with PCOS is
suffering from infertility, fertility drugs may be administered to aid in
Anti-androgens are drugs that reduce male hormone levels. These can help
stop excess hair growth and reduce acne. Diabetes medications may also be
prescribed to lower blood glucose and testosterone levels.
Surgery may be recommended for some women with PCOS. Ovarian drilling is
a procedure in which the doctor punctures the ovary with a small needle
carrying an electric current in order to destroy partof the ovary. This is a short-
term solution that can promote ovulation and reduce male hormone levels.
Women with PCOS have a higher risk of developing:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Anxiety and depression
Sleep apnea (when a person stops breathing periodically during sleep).
Endometrial cancer (cancer caused by thickening of the lining of the
In case of pregnancy, the doctor may refer the patient to a physician who
specialises in high-risk pregnancies. Women with PCOS have a higher rate of
miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery, and may need extra
monitoring during pregnancy.
The earlier PCOS is diagnosed and treated, the lower the risk of developing the
above-mentioned complications. Avoiding tobacco products and participating
in regular exercise can also reduce the risk of some of these co-morbidities. It
is therefore, important to create PCOS awareness and encourage women who
experience the symptoms to talk with a gynaecologist about what PCOS means
for their overall health and how they can prevent serious complications.