Dr Glenda McLaren
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

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What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that primarily affects women of reproductive age.

PCOS can have a significant impact on women’s health, including menstrual cycle irregularities, cysts on the ovaries, fertility challenges, and noticeable symptoms such as skin issues (such as acne) and hair changes. Additionally, it can increase the risk of developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

Women with PCOS often have enlarged ovaries, which may have many cysts on them, which is where the name PCOS comes from.

PCOS Prevalence (How common is PCOS?)

PCOS is more common than you might think. Among women of reproductive age, PCOS affects a substantial percentage, making it a widespread condition. About 10% of women of productive age are affected by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is one of the leading causes of infertility, yet many people don’t know they have it — many females with PCOS are not diagnosed. Understanding the prevalence of PCOS is crucial for recognising the importance of its management. PCOS can’t be cured, but if you have it, you and your doctor can manage many of the symptoms.

What are the First Signs of PCOS?

Common Symptoms of PCOS

Recognising the early signs and symptoms of PCOS is essential for timely intervention. Common indicators of PCOS include irregular menstrual periods, facial acne, excess hair growing on your face, chest, stomach or back, thinning hair and fertility issues. These symptoms can vary among individuals but are key factors in identifying the condition.

Early Detection of PCOS

Early detection of PCOS symptoms plays a vital role in preventing potential complications. Identifying and addressing PCOS in its early stages can lead to more effective management and improved overall health. We encourage proactive health management and timely consultations for a more positive outcome.

What Causes PCOS?

Causes and Risk Factors of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome​

The cause of PCOS is unknown, but it is influenced by various causes and risk factors. While the exact cause is not always clear, factors like hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and genetic predisposition may contribute to the development of PCOS. For example, you are more likely to develop PCOS if you have a close family member with the condition, there were increased hormones while you were in the womb, or due to your lifestyle or environment. Type 2 diabetes is also common in families of those with PCOS.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances, particularly involving insulin and androgens, play a crucial role in the development of PCOS. These imbalances can disrupt the normal functioning of the ovaries and the menstrual cycle, leading to the characteristic symptoms of PCOS.

How PCOS is Diagnosed

Diagnosis Process

The diagnosis of PCOS is often difficult because there is a wide range of symptoms, and you don’t have to have all of them to be diagnosed with the condition. Diagnosing PCOS involves a comprehensive process that includes a thorough medical history, blood tests, and pelvic ultrasound scans.

Consultation with Specialists

You should see your doctor if you are feeling unwell and have any of the symptoms that could be caused by PCOS. Expert evaluation and guidance are vital to ensure a precise diagnosis and establish an effective management plan that suits your individual needs.

It is important to treat PCOS, as you have a higher risk than other females of developing health complication such as:

How to Treat PCOS

Treatment Options for PCOS

Effectively managing PCOS often involves a combination of medical treatments, cosmetic treatments and lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle is one of the main ways to manage PCOS. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help many of the physical and emotional problems caused by PCOS.

Fertility and PCOS​

Fertility concerns are common among individuals with PCOS. Understanding the relationship between PCOS and fertility is crucial for those seeking to conceive. Fortunately, various treatment options are available to enhance fertility and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Managing Symptoms of PCOS​

Managing the symptoms of PCOS is an essential aspect of treatment. There are a number of different therapies to help manage PCOS symptoms, such as period problems, infertility, excess hair growth, acne and weight gain.

These therapies include:

Customised management plans aim to improve the quality of life for individuals with PCOS.

Lifestyle Modifications

Embracing lifestyle modifications can significantly impact the management of PCOS. These changes include dietary adjustments, regular physical activity, and stress management techniques. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can enhance overall well-being and minimise the impact of PCOS.

Setting up an Appointment

To schedule your screening with Bloom Women’s Health, please contact us or fill in our Contact Form. Our team is here to support you throughout the process and ensure you receive the care you deserve. Your health is your greatest asset, and we’re here to help you safeguard it. 

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