Polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition that affects a woman's ovaries. The causes of polycystic ovary syndrome are unknown but it is known that between 5 percent to 10 percent of the women in the United States are affected by this condition. It is the leading cause of infertility in women.
Polycystic ovary syndrome causes many different symptoms that can include:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- No menstrual period
- Excessive body hair
- Skin tags
- Pelvic pain
- Sleep apnea
- Enlarged ovaries with many cysts
Patients experiencing symptoms of PCOS, should see their doctor immediately. To diagnose this condition, the doctor may perform a blood test or ultrasound.
Treatment of PCOS
There is no cure for PCOS. Treatment focuses on treating the symptoms in order to prevent long-term damage. Since symptoms vary, the approach may be focused on a combination of treatments, such as:
- Regulating the menstrual cycle
- Reducing excessive hair growth with medication
- Using diabetic medications
- Stimulating ovulation with fertility medications
- Managing weight gain
- Surgical intervention
If left untreated, PCOS can lead to complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or metabolic syndrome.