Polycystic ovarian cyst

Polycystic ovarian cyst

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

Abbreviation: PCOS or POS.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormone problems for women. It has been suggested that this condition occurs in as many as 4-10 percent woman of reproductive age, with onset manifesting as early as puberty. Because of diversity of clinical and metabolic findings in PCOS, there has been a great debate as to whether it represents a single disorder or multiple associated pathologic conditions.

The actual cause of PCOS remains unclear. It may be a problem of too high a level of male hormones being made in the ovaries (making male hormones is a natural step in the way women make female hormones). There may be a problem in the enzymes involved in the male hormone production. There may also be an important role of insulin in some women. If your body becomes resistant to the effects of its insulin, production of male hormone rises (from the ovaries, the adrenal glands and from the fat tissue) and excess weight gain may occur. As your weight progressively increases, the resistance to insulin worsens.

Doctors and scientists have been unable to pinpoint the actual causative factor, and thus have been unable to treat it effectively. Woman with PCOS are at risk for other health hazards like disorders in lipid metabolism, obesity and its health concerns, vascular disease and cancer.


While the existence of ovarian cysts in some women is hardly noticed because they do not feel its symptoms at all, to others it could be unbearable.

Symptoms of PCOS may include:

    Irregular or absent periods.

  • Excessive hair (hirsutism) particularly on the face, chestor stomach.

  • Thinning of scalp hair or male-pattern baldness.

  • Acne.

  • Difficulty in maintaining a healthy body weight.

  • Fertility problems (difficulty conceiving).

  • Other symptoms like abdominal pain, lower back pain or pelvic pain can also occur.


There is no single test to diagnose PCOS. Your doctor will take a medical history, perform aphysical exam— possibly including an ultrasound, check your hormone levels, and measureglucose, or sugar levels, in the blood. If you are producing too many male hormones, the doctorwill make sure it is from PCOS. At the physical exam the doctor will want to evaluate the areas ofincreased hair growth, so try to allow the natural hair growth for a few days before the visit.During a pelvic exam, the ovaries may be enlarged or swollen by the increased number of smallcysts. This can be seen more easily by vaginal ultrasound, or screening, to examine the ovariesfor cysts and the endometrium. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. The uterine liningmay become thicker if there has not been a regular period.


Because there is no cure for PCOS, it needs to be managed to prevent problems. Treatments are based on the symptoms each patient is having and whether she wants to conceive or needs contraception. Below are descriptions of treatments used for PCOS.

For women who do not want to become pregnant, birth control pills can regulate menstrual cycles, reduce male hormone levels, and help to clear acne. However, the birth control pill does not cure PCOS.

The medicine, Metformin, also called Glucophage, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, also helps with PCOS symptoms. Metformin affects the way insulin regulates glucose and decreases the testosterone production. Abnormal hair growth will slow down and ovulation may return after a few months of use. These medications will not cause a person to become diabetic.

Maintaining a healthy weight is another way women can help manage PCOS. Since obesity is common with PCOS, a healthy diet and physical activity help maintain a healthy weight, which will help the body lower glucose levels, use insulin more efficiently, and may help restore a normal period. Even loss of 10% of her body weight can help make a woman's cycle more regular.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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