PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome is found in approximately 5-10% of women of reproductive age. In this condition, multiple fluid filled cysts are found on the ovary and is usually detected using ultrasound scan of the ovary. Excessive facial hair or hair growth in other parts of the body, skin darkening, pimples, obesity and chronic anovulation characterized by irregular menstrual cycles are the main symptoms.

What are the causes of PCOS?

Development of PCOS could be attributed to the interaction between genetic and environmental factors that may result in hormonal and menstrual imbalances though in some cases women may be genetically predisposed to developing PCOS. Sedentary lifestyle, obesity and poor eating habits also contribute to the development of PCOS.

How to recognize PCOS?

Some of the common signs and symptoms are listed below

  • In 70% of cases it is associated with menstrual disturbances such as irregular or missing periods, excessive spotting or no bleeding at all, cycle length more than 35 days.
  • In 65-75% cases it is associated with Obesity
  • Miscarriage and Infertility
  • In 60-70% of cases it is associated with skin and hair problems such as hair loss, acne, oily skin, excessive facial hair etc.

Who should consult the doctor?

  • Adolescent girls experiencing irregular menstrual periods and associated hair and skin problems.
  • Irregular periods with excessive weight gain.
  • Infertile couples

How is PCOS diagnosed?

PCOS can be diagnosed by a careful examination. If suspected, ultrasound scan, blood tests and hormonal assays may be done for confirmation.