Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Conditions & Diseases, HEALTH

PCOS is a serious, genetic, hormone, metabolic, and reproductive disorder. PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility and the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder in women of reproductive age. While PCOS is often associated with women of reproductive age, it is a lifelong condition that can lead to a range of complications in some individuals, such as psychosocial disorders, obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, infertility, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, endometrial cancer, maternal/fetal health complications, and other conditions.

There is currently no cure for PCOS. However, its symptoms and severity can be managed with early detection and intervention. It is important that patients and healthcare professionals learn effective ways of managing PCOS and its many symptoms and associated health risks.


Symptoms of PCOS often start around the time of the first menstrual period. Sometimes symptoms develop later after you have had periods for a while.

  1. Irregular periods. Having few menstrual periods or having periods that aren’t regular are common signs of PCOS. So is having periods that last for many days or longer than is typical for a period.
  2. Too much androgen. High levels of the hormone androgen may result in excess facial and body hair. This is called hirsutism.
  3. Polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries might be bigger. Many follicles containing immature eggs may develop around the edge of the ovary.

PCOS signs and symptoms are typically more severe in people with obesity.

  • Lifestyle and home remedies

    To help ease the effects of PCOS, try to:

    • Stay at a healthy weight. Weight loss can lower insulin and androgen levels. It also may restore ovulation. Ask your health care provider about a weight-control program, if you need one. Meet with a registered dietitian for help in reaching weight-loss goals.
    • Limit carbohydrates. High-carbohydrate diets might make insulin levels go higher. Ask your provider if a low-carbohydrate diet could help if you have PCOS. Choose complex carbohydrates, which raise your blood sugar levels more slowly. Complex carbohydrates are found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cooked dry beans and peas.
    • Be active. Exercise helps lower blood sugar levels. If you have PCOS, increasing your daily activity and getting regular exercise may treat or even prevent insulin resistance. Being active may also help you keep your weight under control and avoid developing diabetes.

Preparing for your appointment

For PCOS, you may see a specialist in female reproductive medicine (gynecologist), a specialist in hormone disorders (endocrinologist) or an infertility specialist (reproductive endocrinologist).