Polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos)

Pelvis | Obstetrics and Gynaecology | Polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos) (Disease)


The most widely accepted clinical definition of the polycystic ovary syndrome is the association of hyperandrogenism with chronic anovulation in women without specific underlying diseases of the adrenal or pituitary glands.

Hyperandrogenism is characterized clinically by hirsutism, acne, and androgen-dependent alopecia and biochemically by elevated serum concentrations of androgens, particularly testosterone and androstenedione. Obesity is common but not universal.

Typically, these features are associated with hypersecretion of luteinizing hormone and androgens but with normal or low serum concentrations of follicle-stimulating hormone.

Causes and Risk factors

The symptoms of PCOS are caused by changes in hormone levels. There may be one or more causes for the hormone level changes.

PCOS seems to run in families, so your chance of having it is higher if other women in your family have PCOS, irregular periods, or diabetes. PCOS can be passed down from either your mothers or fathers side.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the womans stage of life. For younger women who desire birth control, the birth control pill, especially those with low androgenic (male hormone-like) side effects can cause regular periods and prevent the risk of uterine cancer.

Another option is intermittent therapy with the hormone progesterone. Progesterone therapy will induce menstrual periods and reduce the risk of uterine cancer, but will not provide contraceptive protection.

For acne or excess hair growth, a water pill (diuretic) called spironolactone (Aldactone) may be prescribed to help reverse these problems. The use of spironolactone requires occasional monitoring of blood tests because of its potential effect on the blood potassium levels and kidney function.

Eflornithine (Vaniqa) is a cream medication that can be used to slow facial hair growth in women. Electrolysis and over-the-counter depilatory creams are other options for controlling excess hair growth. ...