Polycystic ovary syndrome

PCOS

A common condition affecting the normal function of the ovaries

About

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition where the normal function of the ovaries has changed. Polycystic ovaries contain a number of harmless follicles. They're not actually cysts but sacs in which your eggs should develop. However, as they haven't formed properly, they can't release an egg and ovulation may not happen as usual.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of PCOS icon plus

    There are three key symptoms associated with polycystic ovary syndrome:

    • your ovaries may be enlarged and contain more than 12 fluid-filled sacs
    • your hormones may be out of balance
    • you may not ovulate every month

    In addition to these, you may also experience:

    • difficulty becoming pregnant
    • recurrent miscarriage
    • depression
    • rapid weight gain
    • difficulty losing weight
    • oily skin or acne
    • unwanted hair on your face or body

    In a large number of cases, there are no symptoms at all.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    If you have two out of three of the main symptoms above, you may have PCOS. We'll measure your hormone levels via a blood test and we may recommend you have an ultrasound of your ovaries which would confirm a diagnosis of PCOS.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    There's no way of reversing the formation of these cysts, but if you’re diagnosed with PCOS, it's important that you have treatment to control your symptoms. This is particularly the case if the symptoms are severe and cause concern, or if infertility becomes an issue. We have a multidisciplinary team who can offer complementary therapies and nutritional advice as part of a tailored plan to suit your needs.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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