There are three elements to Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). To have a diagnosis of PCOS, you need to have two of the following signs:
- Irregular periods
- high levels of male hormones such as testosterone
- enlarged ovaries with many small peripheral cysts that represent unreleased eggs.
Problems associated the PCOS
Infertility: despite the high number of follicles, the process of releasing the egg (ovulation) rarely occurs leading to difficulty conceiving. There is an imbalance in hormones with increased levels of testosterone and usually a lack of progesterone, which is normally involved in regulating the monthly cycle.
Diagnosis: it is a common condition with many women not having sufficient symptoms to seek medical assistance. As many as half of women with PCOS do not appreciate that they have it.
- Irregular periods or amenorrhea (no periods at all).
- Infertility, consistent problems trying to conceive.
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair or hair loss from the head but an increase in facial hair, chest, back and bottom hair.
There is certainly a hereditary element to PCOS with possibly several genes being responsible. Weight gain either as an effect or a cause of insulin resistance triggers a cycle of abnormal testosterone production, reduced ovulation, further insulin resistance and more weight gain.
Initially, if you are overweight, finding a way to lose some of your excess weight can be one of the most beneficial things you can do, as your weight reduces so will the symptoms of PCOS.
There are medications available that Mr Broome can prescribe that can help reduce weight alongside a reduction in calorie intake. He can advise you on treatments for excessive hair growth, your periods and any fertility issues that you may be experiencing.
Ovarian drilling, a laparoscopic procedure, may also be an option. During this procedure each ovary is pierced a number of times using a heated needle, this can temporarily reverse symptoms of PCOS for up to 2 years which can allow other interventions to be more effective with regards to weight loss or fertility.