What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition in which women who have a higher than normal amount of male hormones causes an imbalance.

Women with this condition may have infrequent menstrual bleeding and fertility issues due to excess androgen hormone levels. As a result, the ovaries develop numerous cysts (which are sacs of fluid).

What causes polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Although polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is related to an imbalance of hormones, the exact cause is unknown. Having a family member with this condition increases your chance of having the condition yourself.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) include those related to higher levels of androgen in women such as:

  • Late or absent period
  • Abnormally heavy bleeding
  • Excess facial and body hair
  • Severe acne
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Enlarged ovaries
  • Fertility issues

How can this condition be treated?

Because this condition is related to many conditions such as infertility, miscarriages, liver inflammation, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, abnormal uterine bleeding and a higher risk of developing endometrial cancer, treating this condition is prioritised.

Treatment options may vary depending on the age of the woman being treated.  Treatment options include:

  • Birth control is able to address the hormone imbalance and keep menstruation regular
  • Progestin therapy may help regulate menstruation and reduce the risks of endometrial cancer.
  • Hormonal treatments such as anti-oestrogen medication, insulin lowering medication and Gonadotropins can also be considered.
  • Weight loss can help regulate your menstrual cycle and hormones as well as reduce your risk of developing diabetes.