Ovarian Cysts Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the leading causes of infertility in women, and affects between 5 to 10 percent of the female population in the United States.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is characterized by obesity, missed or irregular periods and excess hair growth. Polycystic ovaries are associated with excess amounts of male hormone levels produced by the ovaries, and often seen in combination with multiple ovarian cysts.

If you suspect polycystic ovarian syndrome, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and be aware of all symptoms. While there’s no cure for PCOS, treating individual symptoms, as well as a combination of other treatments, can decrease the effects of PCOS and make conception possible.

PCOS Symptoms

Polycystic ovary symptoms vary from woman to woman, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal or increased hair growth
  • Heightened male hormone levels
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Missed or irregular periods
  • Multiple ovarian cysts
  • Obesity or sudden weight gain.

Note that the presence of polycystic ovaries doesn’t always mean that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome. For a diagnosis of PCOS you must also have abnormal menstruation symptoms and high levels of the male hormone, androgen. On the other hand, you may be diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome without polycystic ovaries.

PCOS Treatment

If they have polycystic ovarian syndrome, some women want to focus on overcoming infertility, while others may prefer to decrease obesity or control acne. What is PCOS treatment like? Treatment of polycystic ovary symptoms will vary depending on:

  • Severity
  • Symptoms
  • Your personal needs.

The first goal of treatment is to lessen PCOS symptoms, with the second goal of treatment usually being to decrease long-term health risks, such as heart problems and cardiovascular risks such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity.

PCOS Diet

Obesity and weight gain are extremely common in women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome. Therefore, establishing a healthy diet and lifestyle is important for decreasing the associated symptoms and health risk factors. Professionals recommend a diet that is low in carbohydrates, as well as an exercise regimen.

PCOS and Pregnancy

Despite the fact that polycystic ovarian syndrome makes conception difficult, you may still be able to become pregnant with PCOS and carry a child to term.

However, PCOS sufferers may have more complications during pregnancy than women who don’t have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Pregnant PCOS sufferers have a higher risk of the following:

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Miscarriage
  • Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure
  • Premature delivery.

Resources

Insulite Laboratories Staff. (n.d.). PCOS and pregnancy. Retrieved 15 February, 2010, from the Insulite Laboratories Web site: http://www.pcos.insulitelabs.com/PCOS-and-Pregnancy.php.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved 15 February, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/polycystic-ovary-syndrome/DS00423/DSECTION=1.