What is PCOS ?
PCOS stands for Polycystic ovarian syndrome. The condition was first medically identified in 1935 by 2 doctors named Dr Stein & Dr Leventhal, and the condition is also know as the Stein-Levanthal syndrome.
The name describes a condition in which women of childbearing age have a hormonal imbalance, that results in polycystic ovaries associated with a variety of other symptoms. The ovaries in PCOS contain many small follicular cysts that do not develop properly.
How common is PCOS ?
The condition is very common affecting about 5-10% of women. PCOS tends to run in families so there may be a family history, but this is not always the case.
What other symptoms & signs are there in PCOS ?
Most of the syptoms & signs of PCOS are attributable to the hormone imbalance. The symptoms & signs vary from women to women and also vary in severity with some women having milder symptoms than others.
Common symptoms in PCOS are:
- weight problems-difficulty losing weight
- facial & body hair
- oily skin & acne
- irregular or even absent periods
- erratic ovulation or anovulation
- difficulty getting pregnant
- thinning of hair or even male pattern hair loss
- mood swings
What should I do if i think I have PCOS ?
If you think that you may have PCOS it is important to make an appointment & talk to you doctor particularly if you are trying to conceive as PCOS is a leading cause of fertility problems.
The condition does have long term health affects, as women with PCOS have an increased risk of diabetes and ischaemic heart disease, so early diagnosis can also have long term health benefits.
Although the condition is not curable there is much that can be done to manage the symptoms & signs, and to improve your chances of conceiving onec the condition has been identified.
Diet & lifestyle changes can also have beneficial affects on the severity of PCOS symptoms.
Useful resources for PCOS information in UK