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Thursday, 08 March 2018 09:07

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Featured

PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is very common with studies showing at any one time it is present in 12% to 21% of women of reproductive age. It is important to be aware of this condition as its symptoms vary between women and in up to a third of people the diagnosis is not reached until 2 years after they present to doctors with their symptoms.

Women with PCOS may have irregular periods (usually infrequent) due to irregular ovulation. This in turn can lead to delays in falling pregnant. In addition they may also show signs of high free testosterone levels in their blood with problems such as excessive and male pattern hair growth, acne and scalp hair loss. When pelvic ultrasounds are done they may also demonstrate multiple ovarian cysts, which gives the condition its name. However, each woman may show a different mixture of these symptoms and with different severity.

Apart from the distress that these symptoms cause, PCOS increases the risk of diabetes later in life as well as cancer of the uterus. There is also an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Weight gain tends to increase the severity of the symptoms.

Lifestyle changes and weight management are first line treatments. Specific issues with infertility, hair growth and diabetes risk may be managed by a variety of strategies. PCOS is not curable but if managed well its effects on a woman can be minimised.

The majority of women with PCOS are undiagnosed so if you have concerns with unwanted hair growth, irregular periods or problems falling pregnant it is important to see your GP who can assess you for this common condition. The following website is a good initial resource:

https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/pcos

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