Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s ovaries. According to the Office on Women’s Health, approximately 1 out of 10 women experience PCOS sometime in their life. Some doctors describe PCOS as the “silent killer” because it cannot be diagnosed with just one test–so many women may not even realize they have PCOS.

PCOS has been linked to women having a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. It is important to seek early intervention to reduce your chance of other conditions.

Signs and symptoms of PCOS typically occur during late teenage years or early adulthood and may include:

  • Irregular or no menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Hirsutism (excess hair growth)
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Abdominal/pelvic pain
  • Areas of dark skin on the back of the neck

Polycystic Ovaries is when a woman has a collection of little cysts surrounding the edges of her ovaries. Typically cysts do not cause any real issues (unless they are big), but they could indicate something else is wrong. Polycystic ovaries do not automatically mean that you have PCOS. In order for a woman to be diagnosed with PCOS, she needs to have abnormal menstrual cycles as well as signs of androgen excess (acne, hair loss, etc).

PCOS is an extremely common cause of infertility in women. Often, many women do not know they have PCOS and go undiagnosed—not knowing that PCOS is causing their infertility—until they seek treatment.