Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder caused due to the imbalance of hormones in the body. It is characterized by abnormal amounts of the male hormone androgen which results irregular periods, and cysts in the ovaries. Cysts are small sacs filled with fluid.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female endocrine disorders affecting approximately 5%-10% of women of reproductive age (12-45 years old) and was once thought erroneously to be one of the leading causes of infertility.
The principal features are obesity, anovulation (resulting in irregular menstruation), acne, and excessive amounts or effects of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly among women. While the causes are unknown, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity are all strongly correlated with PCOS.
PCOS affects about 4-6% of all women it is essentially an ovulation disorder. Several factors contribute to the disease. At this moment researchers think that the cause of the disease is genetic. The major features of this syndrome are irregular or no menstruation, hirsutism and acne due to high levels of male hormones, obesity (40-50%), high insulin levels with risk for developing diabetes and large polycystic ovaries shown on ultrasound. Women with PCOS usually present at fertility clinics for counseling. To increase fecundity the treatment possibilities are mostly focused on regulation of the menstrual cycle. For this, several drugs are used (clomiphene citrate, bromocriptine, gonadotrophins) and weight loss is strongly advised. In many cases the cycle will be ovulatory and regulated by these treatments. Furthermore at this moment it is being investigated whether electrocoagulation of the large ovaries can give (long-term) regulation of the cycles.
In recent years, it has become evident that beyond a reproductive or cosmetic problem, PCOS represents a metabolic risk. Many women with PCOS have hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance, lipid abnormalities, obesity, or any combination of these. Even those patients who are seen for infertility "only" need to be screened for these metabolic risk factors, and they require counseling regarding this risk and its management.
Lifestyle modification can help you to improve Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) disorder. Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese, which can cause health problems. You can help manage your PCOS by eating healthy and exercising to keep your weight at a healthy level.
Lack of ovulation is usually the reason for fertility problems in women with PCOS. Several medications that stimulate ovulation can help women with PCOS become pregnant. Even so, other reasons for infertility in both the woman and man should be ruled out before fertility medications are used.
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