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Polycystic ovary syndrome

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovaries (PCOS) is a women's health condition that affects the ovaries by preventing them from releasing eggs. The ovaries aren't actually covered in cysts, but they contain several follicles which are undeveloped sacs which eggs develop inside of. As the sacs are underdeveloped they don't always release eggs and therefore prevent ovulation.

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?

Some people do not have any symptoms, however the most commonly described are:

  • Irregular periods due to ovulation not always happening

  • Trouble getting pregnant

  • Weight gain

  • Acne

  • Excessive hair growth on the tummy, chest, back and face

How is polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosed?

There are three main features of PCOS and you need at least 2 of them to be diagnosed. These are:

  • Irregular periods

  • Too much androgen hormone which is diagnosed with a blood test

  • Your ovaries are enlarged and contain several follicles, which is diagnosed with an ultrasound


How is polycystic ovary syndrome treated?

The symptoms of PCOS can be treated with medicines such as contraceptive and lifestyle changes. Sometimes surgery can be performed to remove the tissue that produces androgens. 

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