Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may experience a range of symptoms including irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is thought to be related to insulin resistance, which can lead to high levels of insulin in the body.
One of the defining characteristics of PCOS is the development of multiple small cysts on the ovaries, which can be seen on an ultrasound. These cysts are actually follicles that have developed but failed to release an egg during ovulation. This can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles and difficulty conceiving. In addition to fertility issues, women with PCOS may also be at higher risk for other health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Treatment for PCOS typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. For women who are trying to conceive, medications such as clomiphene citrate or letrozole can be used to stimulate ovulation. In more severe cases, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended. In addition, lifestyle changes such as weight loss, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can help improve symptoms of PCOS and reduce the risk of associated health problems.