Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health
Grow Youthful: How to Slow Your Aging and Enjoy Extraordinary Health

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS?

Symptoms of PCOS

Causes of PCOS

Consequences of PCOS

Prevention / remedies / cures / treatment for PCOS

References

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS) is a hormonal condition in which the ovaries are enlarged and contain many small cysts (fluid-filled sacs).

In the menstrual cycle of a healthy woman, many tiny follicles (sacs) grow in her ovaries and start to form eggs. At ovulation an egg is released from one of the ovaries. The other follicles break down and disappear. However, with PCOS the follicles do not break down, but instead fill with fluid and turn into cysts. This causes the ovaries to swell in size, sometimes up to 2 to 5 times larger than normal. The follicles in polycystic ovaries rarely grow to maturity or produce eggs capable of being fertilised.

PCOS affects about 20% of women of reproductive age (between late adolescence and menopause). (1) Almost 70 per cent of cases remain undiagnosed. It is even more common in infertile women.

Diagnosis of PCOS usually involves a consultation, a blood test for various hormones, and an ultrasound. Polycystic ovaries usually but not always show on an ultrasound. About a third of all women may have polycystic ovaries show on an ultrasound, but they do not have PCOS symptoms. About 20% of post-menopausal women are shown to have polycystic ovaries on ultrasound yet may have no symptoms of PCOS.

Note: Polycystic ovarian syndrome is not the same as an ovarian cyst, and the two should not be confused. An ovarian cyst is usually a single, large, sometimes painful cyst.

Symptoms of PCOS

Symptoms can begin during puberty. Each woman's symptoms may be different, but usually they will include some or all of the following:

Causes of PCOS

Consequences of PCOS

Prevention / remedies / cures / treatment for PCOS

References

1. H Teede, A Deeks, L Moran. Polycystic ovary syndrome: a complex condition with psychological, reproductive and metabolic manifestations that impacts on health across the lifespan. 30 June 2010. BMC Medicine 2010, 8:41 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-41.