Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a key cause of infertility, and affects 5 to 10 per cent of women. Yet they may not realise they have it, and that it is hampering their efforts to conceive. We look at what PCOS, what the symptoms are, and how it can be managed.
While as many as 20 per cent of women will suffer from Polycystic Ovaries at some point in their life, these can go unnoticed if they don’t cause any problems. But sufferers of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can find it affects their lives long term.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormonal disorder where sufferers have higher levels of testosterone and insulin. The condition causes multiple cysts to grow on the ovaries because the balance of different hormones needed to produce egg follicles correctly has been upset.
While many women who have no other problems might occasionally develop ovarian cysts, PCOS causes many cysts to form around the ovaries, as well as bringing about a raft of other symptoms, which can affect your appearance, your long-term health outlook, and your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
No one knows for certain what causes PCOS although there’s growing support for theories linking it with insulin resistance.
Is there a cure for PCOS?
There’s no cure for PCOS but there are ways to manage the condition. Because women may suffer from different symptoms, if you think you have the condition talk to your GP about your specific situation. You’ll also then be more regularly screened for longer-term risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
A GP may decide that progestogen tablets will help restore healthy levels of this important hormone in order to increase the regularity of ovulation. Ovulation (at least six times over a 12-month period) is important not only for women who want to conceive but for your health generally. Removing the ovaries is not necessarily a guarantee that the problem will be eliminated.