Often the symptoms begin in the teen years. Treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent long-term problems.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a problem in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with your periods and make it difficult to get pregnant. PCOS may also cause unwanted changes in the way you look. If it is not treated, over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS
Women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) usually have a normal uterus and fallopian tubes. However, these women have ovaries which contain several small cysts measuring approximately 8 mm in size. These cysts can usually be detected with the use of an ultrasound. These small cysts do not require surgical removal, and are not associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The cause of PCOS is not known. There may be dysregulation of the pituitary hormones LH and FSH that usually work together to stimulate ovulation. There may be an abnormality of hormone signaling in the ovaries. The end result is the development of small, abnormally functioning immature follicles that do no develop fully and ovulate.
As a result of abnormal pituitary function, the levels of LH and FSH are not regulated, and a mature egg cannot completely develop. Because of this, the ovulatory process is not completed and the partially stimulated follicle forms a cyst.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
Irregular menstruation: The constant production of estrogen causes the endometrium to become abnormally thick and to be shed spontaneously. This coupled with irregular or absent ovulation causes intermittent bouts of amenorrhea or periods of heavy bleeding.