Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is diagnosed if you have two out of the following three:

  1. Irregular periods
  2. Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound scan
  3. Elevated male hormone levels

Polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis is therefore made both on clinical grounds and on following an ultrasound scan of the pelvis to assess the ovaries and blood tests taken to assess the male hormone levels in the bloodstream.

Polycystic ovaries on ultrasound scan are extremely common and it does not mean that you have polycystic ovarian syndrome if they are found. Women who suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome have a variety of symptoms and the syndrome can range from being very mild to very severe.

A common problem in women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome is that they do not ovulate on a regular basis, if at all and may require fertility treatment, although many do achieve a pregnancy spontaneously. It is important that the pelvic is assessed and that regular bleeds are induced at intervals.

If the syndrome is associated with obesity, loss of weight can significantly improve the regularity of the menstrual cycles. This is certainly the first step to take. Loss of weight can cause loss of cycles to return to regular cycles with regular ovulation.

Long-term women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are at a greater risk of later developing onset diabetes and it is important to check fasting glucose levels and also lipid profile. Advice is required regarding diet and management of the syndrome particularly in those women with increased hair growth.