Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common health problem that can affect teen girls and young women. It can cause irregular menstrual periods, make periods heavier, or even make periods stop. It can also cause a girl to have excess hair and acne.
What causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is not clear. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance. This means the body can't use insulin well. Insulin levels build up in the body and may cause higher androgen levels. Obesity can also increase insulin levels and make PCOS symptoms worse. PCOS may also run in families. It's common for sisters or a mother and daughter to have PCOS.
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
The symptoms of PCOS may include:
Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
Acne or oily skin
Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts
What medications are used to treat PCOS?
Several medications may be prescribed for PCOS. Birth control is not a cure, but it is often prescribed as a first-line treatment after or with lifestyle changes. Other medications that may be prescribed for PCOS include anti-diabetic medication and anti-androgen medication to help in balancing hormones. Metformin is a drug sometimes prescribed to help regulate blood sugar in some forms of PCOS. People who are trying to get pregnant might be prescribed a drug to help them ovulate. Antidiabetic medications, which can improve the way the body uses insulin, are sometimes prescribed in combination with other measures to help manage weight.
What are the complications of PCOS?
Women with PCOS are more likely to develop certain serious health problems. These include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with the heart and blood vessels, and uterine cancer. Women with PCOS often have problems with their ability to get pregnant (fertility).
Cure of PCOS
Certain lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, are considered first-line treatment for adolescent girls and women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).