Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovaries are usually larger than normal ovaries and contain twice the amount of follicles (cells where immature eggs are stored) as normal ovaries.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common condition that effects millions of women in the UK.*
Women who present with this condition often experience a failure to release eggs (no ovulation) and higher levels of male hormones.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
Having polycystic ovaries does not mean you have PCOS. Additional symptoms of PCOS can include:
- Irregular or no menstrual periods
- Reduced fertility (difficulty becoming pregnant)
- Excessive body or facial hair
- Loss of hair from your head
- Weight gain or difficulty loosing weight
- Acne or increase in oils in the skin
If you are concerned about any of these symptoms you should visit your GP for an initial diagnosis. You may be referred to a consultant gynaecologist who can confirm and treat PCOS.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
Your consultant may order an ultrasound scan to confirm you have polycystic ovaries. They may also order blood tests to check your hormone levels.
How is PCOS treated?
Your consultant will recommend a treatment plan to address your symptoms and ensure long term benefits. Treatments could include:
- Weight loss and lifestyle changes (diet and exercise)
- Medications to balance hormone levels
- Medications to control excess hair and acne
- Fertility medications to stimulate ovulation
- Laparoscopic surgery
*Source: NHS Choices