Also commonly referred to as Stein-Leventhal syndrome
3 September 2018| Last updated on 5 September 2018
It is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44) and is one of the leading causes of infertility.
The main features of Polycystic ovary syndrome are:
- Cysts in the ovaries
- High levels of male hormones
- Irregular or skipped periods
Common Symptoms of PCOS
- Irregular periods: A lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. Some women with PCOS get fewer than eight periods a year.
- Heavy bleeding: The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, so the periods you do get can be heavier than normal.
- Hair growth: More than 70 percent of women with this condition grow hair on their face and body — including on their back, belly, and chest. Excess hair growth is called hirsutism.
- Acne: Male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
- Weight gain: Up to 80 percent of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Patient will tend to gain weight, especially around the waist, and have a hard time losing it.
- Darkening of the skin: Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
- Headaches: Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.
- Pelvic pain and depression are also possible symptoms.
The exact cause of PCOS isn't known. Factors that might play a role include:
- Genes: PCOS runs in families, Research suggests that certain genes might be linked to PCOS.
- Excess insulin: If the body cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then blood sugar levels can rise and body might produce more insulin. Excess insulin might increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
- Excess androgen: The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.
The condition can't be cured, but it can be treated.
Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.
- Birth Control: These hormones come in a pill, patch, or vaginal ring.
- Metformin: It treats PCOS by improving insulin levels.
- Clomiphene: It can help women with PCOS get pregnant.
- Hair removal medicines: Laser hair removal and electrolysis.
- Spironolactone: (Aldactone) For male hormone symptom.
Surgery can be an option to improve fertility if other treatments don’t work.
Dr. Rana Al Zoubi
Specialist Obstetrician and Gynecologist
MEDCARE Al Barsha Medical Center