Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder that affects approximately 5-10% of women every year. However, only about 30% of women with PCOS receive the correct diagnosis. The disorder causes the growth of multiple cysts in the ovaries, as well as physical changes such as excess hair growth and obesity. The ovaries are two female reproductive organs that release eggs each month (called ovulation). PCOS can make it difficult for a woman to become pregnant, and is a leading cause of infertility. 

Can polycystic ovary syndrome go away on its own?

No, PCOS will not go away without treatment. It is a lifelong condition with no cure that requires medical attention. It is highly treatable with the right medications and lifestyle management.

Can I get pregnant with polycystic ovary syndrome?

Yes, it is still possible to become pregnant with PCOS, although some women may have a more difficult time getting pregnant. It’s important to discuss it with your doctor and develop a personalized treatment plan that can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Does having PCOS increase the chances of having other health problems?

Yes, a person with PCOS seems to have a higher risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), sleep apnea, obesity, and endometrial cancer.

Home care for PCOS?

Diet and exercise can help treat some symptoms of PCOS, such as irregular periods and obesity. Studies have shown that losing at least 10% of your weight can help regulate periods and lose weight, which in turn improve insulin and cholesterol levels.

Causes

What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?

The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Doctors and researchers believe that hormones, genetics, and insulin resistance can play a role in the development of PCOS. 

One of its main causes is the presence of a higher level of the male hormone androgen in a woman’s body, which prevents the release of eggs. It may also have a genetic connection because PCOS tends to run in families. If someone in your family has PCOS, it increases the chances that you will also develop PCOS. Another causal link may be insulin resistance. More than half of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, which means the cells in the body do not respond to insulin. This can lead to high blood glucose level and eventually result in developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

With Insurance

Diabetes and Endocrinology

Your copay
Depending on insurance

Without Insurance

Diabetes and Endocrinology

$149

Initial Visit

$75

Follow Up

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?

The symptoms can vary from patient to patient. However, the most commonly reported PCOS symptoms include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Excess hair growth on face and body
  • Acne
  • Male pattern balding
  • Weight gain
  • Cysts in the ovaries
  • Skin tags or darkened skin patches on neck or underarms

Diagnosis

How is polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosed?

Your doctor will take your health history and ask if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. He or she will also order one or more of the following tests:

  • Blood tests can check your hormone levels, especially for a high level of androgen hormone. Blood tests will also help your doctor eliminate other illnesses that could be contributing to the symptoms.
  • A pelvic exam helps your doctor determine if there are any abnormal growths in the ovaries or uterus.
  • An ultrasound can help your doctor to visualize any ovarian cysts.

Treatment

How is polycystic ovary syndrome treated?

Despite the lack of cure for this disorder, PCOS is easily treatable using one or more of these options:

  • Birth control pills can help regulate your periods and ovulation. They may also relieve some symptoms, such as excess hair growth. However, this is not a good option for women who are trying to become pregnant.
  • Medications, such as Metformin to help control insulin levels and Clomiphene to help with fertility, can help manage PCOS symptoms, and improve chances of becoming pregnant.
  • Ovarian drilling is a surgical option for women who may not respond well to the medications or see improvements with weight loss. Ovarian drilling uses a laser to make small holes in the ovaries. This can help the ovaries to ovulate each month and regulate the menstrual cycle. When a woman is able to ovulate, the chances of pregnancy increase.

References

Office on Women’s Health. (2019, April 1). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome
Watson, S. (2021, April 19). Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease#diet-and-lifestyle

Information

TM2U Curve inverted

Affordable –
with or without insurance

With Insurance

Diabetes and Endocrinology

Your copay
Depending on insurance

Without Insurance

Diabetes and Endocrinology

$149

Initial Visit

$75

Follow Up