Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Pre Conception

Irregular periods? Increasing weight? Difficulty in getting pregnant? Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound?

You may be suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome. Read on to find out more about this condition.

  • What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
  • What causes PCOS?
  • What are the symptoms of PCOS?
  • Why do women with PCOS have trouble with their menstrual cycle and fertility?
  • How do I know if I have PCOS?
  • How is PCOS treated?
  • How does PCOS affect a woman while pregnant?
  • Does PCOS change at menopause?
  • Does PCOS put women at risk for other health problems?
  • I have PCOS. What can I do to prevent complications?
  • How can I cope with the emotional effects of PCOS?
  • More information on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem that can affect a woman. It leads to irregular periods, weight gain, acne, increase in facial hair, difficulty in conceiving or infertility.

What causes PCOS?

A main underlying problem with PCOS is a hormonal imbalance. In women with PCOS, the ovaries make more androgens than normal. Androgens are male hormones that females also make. High levels of these hormones affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation.

It is now well established that insulin resistance is linked to PCOS. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that controls the level of blood sugar. Due to insulin resistance, women with PCOS produce more insulin and the excess insulin appears to increase production of androgen. High androgen levels can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain and problems with ovulation. The lack of regular ovulation then leads to irregular menses and infertility.

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