Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a multifactorial condition, influenced by a woman’s genes, her weight and her metabolism, all in the context of a high ovarian reserve.
Cysts on the ovary are not actually a bad thing – they are just eggs in their normal surrounding antral follicles. It’s just that in women with PCOS there are generally many more present than in most same age peers, and these follicles make hormones in an unbalanced way.
PCOS symptoms are on a spectrum. Some women with “polycystic ovaries” on ultrasound are symptom free. These women don’t have the syndrome, they just have high functioning powerful ovaries. For women wanting to freeze eggs, polycystic ovaries are a blessing as many more eggs can be achieved in a single treatment than for most women.
Symptoms of PCOS can include the following:
Acne and oily skin
Excess hair growth in unwanted areas like on the face, tummy, arms and legs
Hair loss in a male balding pattern
Irregular or absent menstrual cycles (and irregular or absent ovulation)
Some women with PCOS can successfully reduce their symptoms by revving their metabolism with exercise and losing weight through a combination of exercise and caloric restriction.
PCOS symptoms are best treated by a multidisciplinary team, often involving a reproductive endocrinologist (CREI trained gynaecologist and fertility subspecialist), GP, dermatologist, dietician, exercise physiologist and supportive psychologist.
Having a regular period is essential for the health of your uterus and protection of your future fertility. If you are trying to get pregnant, releasing an egg each month is essential in order to have a reasonable chance of success.
At Women’s Health Melbourne, we are experts at PCOS management. If you need help, give us a call.