Consultant Gynaecologist and Specialist in Pelvic Floor Surgery

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine condition among women of reproductive age. The enlarged ovaries contain small collections of fluid — called follicles.

About 7 in every 100 in the UK are affected.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown but early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

What occurs in PCOS?

Infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods; excess hair growth; acne and obesity can all occur in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Infrequent or absent menstruation in adolescents may raise suspicion of this condition.

Polycystic ovary syndrome often begins soon after the commencement of periods (menarche).

In some cases, PCOS develops later in response to substantial weight gain.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

At least two of the following must be present:

What causes PCOS?

The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown, but these factors may play a role:

What are the risks of PCOS?

Having polycystic ovary syndrome increases the risk of developing;

What tests do I need?

There’s no specific test to definitively diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome.

What treatment options are available?

Polycystic ovary syndrome treatment is based on managing individual concerns, such as infertility, hirsutism, acne or obesity.

Lifestyle changes

Weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise activities. A 5% reduction in body weight improves symptoms.

Medication

The oral contraceptive pill decreases male hormone production and regulates abnormal bleeding.

The progesterone only pill and progestin-containing intrauterine device (mirena) are alternatives.

Metformin is an oral medication for treating type 2 Diabetes and helps to improve ovulation and regulate menstrual cycles. It also slows progression to type 2 Diabetes by aiding weight loss.

The contraceptive pill reduces male hormone levels

Spironolactone blocks the effects of androgens on the skin

Eflornithine (Vaniqa) is a cream that slows female facial hair growth

Your individual treatment will be discussed during your consultation

For further information please visit www.pcos-uk.org.uk