Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Also known as: polycystic ovary syndrome, PCOS.

What is polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Ovaries produce hormones like progesterone and estrogen that cause female characteristics and male hormones called androgens, girls’ and boys’ sex organs both produce these hormones but in different amounts.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common (10% of teen girls/young women) disorder among young women of reproductive age where the ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones. Over time this produces cysts in the ovaries which can interfere with the release of the ovaries eggs and interfere with the ability to have children.

What causes polycystic ovarian syndrome?

The exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome isn’t clear. It appears in many families to be genetic and to run in families, with obesity (from lack of exercise) and an increased secretion of insulin.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

Signs of too much male type hormone include:

What are polycystic ovarian syndrome care options?

While there is no cure for PCOS, treatments aim at minimizing the hormone imbalance and improving symptoms.

  • Hormone therapy (birth control pills) improve the menstrual cycle, acne and hair growth.
  • Medications used to treat diabetes, diet, exercise and weight loss can play a role in controlling the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: February 03, 2021 02:30 PM

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