Polycystic Ovary Syndrome(PCOD)- A common problem in women Understanding normal ovulation
The ovaries are a pair of glands that lie on either side of the uterus (womb), these are almond shaped and form eggs and release hormones.
Ovulation –simply means the formation of the egg in the ovary. Every month a fluid filled bubble (called a `follicle`) is formed in the ovary, this follicle lodges the egg. The follicle grows upto a certain size and then ruptures releasing the egg. The sperm at this point meets the egg and the embryo lodges itself in the womb.
The main hormones that are made in the ovaries are oestrogen and progestogen - the main 'female' hormones. These hormones help with the development of breasts, and control the menstrual cycle. Ovaries also release `testosterone` which is a hormone mainly present in males but in very small amounts
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a condition where the following occur:
At least 12 follicles (tiny cysts) develop in your ovaries. (Polycystic means 'many cysts'.)
The balance of hormones that you make in the ovaries is altered. In particular, your ovaries make more testosterone (male hormone) than normal.
You do not ovulate each month and some do not ovulate at all. If you do not ovulate then you do not have a period.
How common is PCOS?
PCOS is common. It is said that up to 1 in 10 women have Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - that is, women have Polycystic ovaries, a raised level of male hormone (testosterone) and reduced ovulation.
What are the symptoms and problems of PCOS?
Symptoms that occur if you do not ovulate
Period problems occur in about 7 in 10 women with PCOS. You may have irregular or light periods, or no periods at all.
Fertility problems - you need to ovulate to become pregnant. You may not ovulate each month, and some women with PCOS do not ovulate at all. PCOS is one of the commonest causes of infertility.
Symptoms that can occur if you make too much testosterone (male hormone)
Excess hair growth (hirsutism) occurs in more than half of women with PCOS. It is mainly on the face, lower abdomen, and chest. Acne
Weight gain - about 4 in 10 women with PCOS become overweight or obese.
Possible long-term problems of PCOS
If you have PCOS, over time you have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy, a high cholesterol level, and possibly high blood pressure.
Tests may be advised to clarify the diagnosis
Blood tests such as LH/FSH levels, testosterone levels are necessary to diagnose this condition
An ultrasound scan of the ovaries will show enlarged ovaries with multiple small
What is the treatment for PCOS?
There are treatments available but there is no cure for PCOS.
You should aim to lose weight if you are overweight
This then improves the chance of you ovulating, which improves any period problems, fertility, and may also help to reduce hair growth and acne. The increased risk of long-term problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, is also reduced.
Metformin is a drug that is commonly used to treat people with diabetes. It makes the body's cells more sensitive to insulin. Preventing long term problems
Preventing long term problems
A healthy lifestyle is important to help prevent the conditions listed above in 'long-term problems'. For example, you should: eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
If infertility is is not responding to treatment then Laparoscopy ovarian drilling may be suggested by your doctor which improves chances of conceiving over a period of 6 months.