What is PCOS ?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome) is a relatively common hormonal disorder that causes a number of different symptoms in women of reproductive age. Common to all women with PCOS is an irregularity in the menstrual cycle and the presence of excess male hormones (androgens).The condition was named because of the finding of enlarged ovaries containing multiple small cysts (polycystic ovaries). Although most women with PCOS have polycystic ovaries, some affected women do not. PCOS has also been referred to as Stein-Leventhal syndrome and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
PCOS leads to disruptions in the menstrual cycle that typically begin around the onset of puberty. Menstrual cycles may be normal at first and then become irregular, or the onset of menses may be delayed. The menstrual irregularities of PCOS are accompanied by a lack of ovulation, so affected women may experience infertility. The desire for pregnancy is a factor that prompts many women with PCOS to first seek medical attention
Insulin resistance, weight gain, and obesity are also common in PCOS. Observers have suggested that about one-half of women with PCOS are obese. Insulin resistance, accompanied by elevated blood levels of insulin, occurs in most women with PCOS, independent of the presence of obesity.
Women with PCOS have also been reported to have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and many studies have shown abnormal blood lipid levels and elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a predictor of coronary artery disease.
It is important for women with PCOS to routinely follow-up with their health care practitioner according to his or her recommendations, both for the management of the hormonal effects of PCOS as well as the treatment of associated conditions.