Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. PCOS causes a woman’s body to produce excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens) which lead to the various manifestations of the disease.
PCOS disrupts the balance of both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), the hormone that causes the follicle and egg to develop and luteinizing hormone (LH), the hormone that causes the follicle to release the egg. PCOS tends to run in families, but little is known about its cause or how it passes from one generation to the next.
PCOS patients can have a wide range of presentations. Not every woman who has difficulty ovulating will qualify for the diagnosis of PCOS. In an effort to clarify, an expert conference (Rotterdam, 2003) defined PCOS (after the exclusion of related disorders) as including two of the following three features: 1. Irregular or absent ovulation 2. Clinical and/or biochemical signs of excess androgens 3. Polycystic appearing ovaries by sonogram.
Symptoms of PCOS:
No cure exists for PCOS, but treatments can help relieve symptoms, improve the quality of life, and reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.
Treatment generally focuses on management of the woman’s main concern(s), such as infertility, hirsutism, acne, and/or obesity.
The following are common treatments for PCOS: