Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most prevalent endocrine disorders affecting women of reproductive age. Between 5% – 10% of women are affected by PCOS and the disease is one of the primary causes of infertility. PCOS is usually characterized by a disproportionate amount of cysts on the ovaries. Not all women with polycystic ovaries have PCOS and not all women who have PCOS have polycystic ovaries. The cysts are not harmful other than causing hormonal imbalances. Further biochemical characterization through blood tests or ultrasounds is required to determine if the disease is present.
Endocrine disorders deal with the balance of hormones in our bodies. A woman with PCOS has an imbalance of many hormones in her body, including sex hormones. This imbalance of one type of hormone activates imbalances in other types of hormones which creates a detrimental cycle of imbalanced chemicals. Androgens are the generic name for male hormones and women who have PCOS have an excess of these hormones. Androgens can cause problems such as infrequent ovulation, excess hair growth, and severe acne. Other symptoms of PCOS include obesity, depression, and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance dramatically increases one’s chance of developing Type II diabetes.
PCOS is thought to be hereditary, but this theory has yet to be proven. For even more information about PCOS please visit: