Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs when women have enlarged ovaries containing follicles (small collections of fluid).
What are the symptoms?
Irregular or prolonged menstrual periods, adult acne/severe adolescent acne, excess hair growth and obesity can all be signs of PCOS; these symptoms usually begin after a woman starts menstruating, although some women develop the syndrome later on in their reproductive years. Polycystic ovaries can increase the risk of infertility, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and depression, particularly when obesity is also a factor. However, these risks can be reduced if the condition is diagnosed early.
How is it diagnosed?
As there is no specific test for PCOS, it is diagnosed through a process of exclusion, where your doctor will go through your medical history, perform certain tests and then rule out the possible problems. These tests include a physical exam, pelvic exam, blood tests and an ultrasound. PCOS can be hereditary, but may also be caused by excess insulin or low grade inflammation.