What Is PCOS?

August 28, 2015

For most women, the onset of menstruation signals the transition from childhood to adulthood. But for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), this rite of passage may not go smoothly and could be a harbinger of bigger problems to come.

PCOS usually begins at or shortly after menarche (the onset of menstruation), but it can develop later, usually in response to a significant weight gain. Untreated, PCOS can lead to problems with diabetes and heart disease, so it is important to understand the signs and symptoms of PCOS.

Symptoms of PCOS

Your doctor will look for at least two of three signs when considering a diagnosis of PCOS, including:

Irregular Periods

– Fewer than eight periods a year
– Failure to menstruate for four months or longer
– Prolonged periods with heavy or scant menstruation
– More than 35 days between periods

Excess Androgen

– Facial hair
– Male pattern baldness
– Severe or adult-onset acne

Polycystic Ovaries

Enlarged ovaries with small, fluid-filled “string-of-pearl” cysts

You may also experience depression, weight gain, or trouble losing weight.

What Causes PCOS?

The causes of PCOS aren’t well understood, but may include:


Your chances of getting PCOS are greater if your mother or one of your sisters was diagnosed with the condition. Doctors are also investigating the possibility that certain genes may be linked with PCOS.

Too Much Insulin

Insulin regulates the body’s use of its main fuel, glucose. Too much insulin may cause the ovaries to produce more androgen, which could interfere with ovulation.

Low-Grade Inflammation

Women with PCOS usually produce substances to fight off infection, and these substances may also trigger increased androgen production.

How Is PCOS Treated?

Because PCOS can lead to serious complications such as diabetes and heart disease, the first line of treatment is weight loss. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to reduce the growth of facial hair and to regulate your periods. If you’re trying to get pregnant, your doctor may prescribe drugs that will help you ovulate.

OB-GYN Services in Sarasota

Call the doctors at OB-GYN of Lakewood Ranch if you have symptoms of PCOS. We’re dedicated to helping treat women with PCOS and ameliorate the problems it may cause. Request an appointment online today or contact us to find out how we can help.