What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disease caused by an imbalance in your hormones
. It's also called PCO, PCOS
, or Stein-Leventhal syndrome
. If you have polycystic ovary syndrome, your ovaries
may be enlarged and filled with cysts. You may also have very irregular periods
and more body hair than you normally would. back to top
What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?
Some researchers think that too much of the hormone testosterone
may cause polycystic ovary syndrome. Testosterone is the male hormone, but women also produce small amounts of it in the ovaries and adrenal glands
. Too much testosterone will prevent ovulation
. That leads to periods that don't come very often or no periods at all.
When there's no ovulation, the pituitary gland tries to stimulate the ovary to produce an egg. This extra stimulation can lead to many cysts growing on the ovaries.
Larger amounts of testosterone can lead to other symptoms, such as more body hair and acne
. back to top
What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?
The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome include:
How do I find out if I have polycystic ovary syndrome?
- irregular periods
- excess body hair
- enlarged ovaries
- obesity back to top
If your periods don't come very often, see your health professional. He or she will examine you, and check for excess body hair and acne
. A pelvic exam
can be done to see if your ovaries are enlarged. Blood tests can be used to check the levels of hormones in your body, including testosterone. An ultrasound
may show that you have enlarged ovaries with many small cysts. back to top
How do you get rid of polycystic ovary syndrome?
Birth control pills
are a very good way to treat polycystic ovary syndrome. Birth control pills will regulate your periods and may help you get rid of the excess body hair and acne.
You can have the extra hair removed with electrolysis
. There are also prescription medications that can decrease body hair and improve acne. back to top
What happens if I don't get treated for polycystic ovary syndrome?
Getting treated for polycystic ovary syndrome will do more than just regulate your periods or prevent extra hair from growing. If you don't treat it and you don't have regular periods, you'll be exposed to large amounts of the female hormone estrogen
over a long period of time. This can lead to a greater chance of developing cancer of the uterus
and breast cancer
If you don't get polycystic ovary syndrome treated and you leave it untreated for many years, you may have difficulty having children later in life. back to top