Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of subfertility in women.
It usually manifests during adolescence and is characterized by hormone imbalance.
The diagnosis of PCOS has lifelong implications ( eg. increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus) and the patients need to be diagnosed promptly and counselled appropriately.
Approximately 15-20% of women have polycystic ovaries ( ovary is larger or contains many small cysts around it). PCOS is diagnosed in only 5% of the women and is based on the ultrasound picture and the following symptoms.
• Facial hair
• Hair loss
• Weight gain
• Difficulty conceiving Irregular periods (absent or less frequent or heavy irregular bleeding)
PCOS is diagnosed with a pelvic ultrasound scan combined with hormonal blood tests. Also an evaluation of clinical symptoms will contribute to the diagnosis of the condition.
The treatment options are tailored to the woman’s symptoms.
Weight loss through lifestyle changes might prove enough to reverse the symptoms. Those involve diet and exercise usually under the instructions of a dietitian.
A low glycaemic diet can help women who have insulin resistance.
Facial hair growth can be treated with special creams, waxing or laser treatment.
Hormonal preparations like the oral contraceptive pill are usually very helpful.
Many women manage to get pregnant naturally but some women may need help with medication in order to start ovulating or ovulate regularly. Monitoring is necessary when ovulation induction drugs are prescribed.