May 13, 2008

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

For those who are curious here is a brief summary of what this is about. In the future I will have more in depth info for anyone interested (and also my story and PCOS).

Polycystic ovary syndrome is something quite different to suffering from ovarian cysts, which are discussed in detail in that section. Polycystic ovaries are ovaries that are actually covered with very small follicles in which the egg develops.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?In each menstrual cycle, follicles grow on the ovaries. Within those follicles eggs develop, one of which will reach maturity faster than the others and be released into the fallopian tubes. This is known as ovulation. The remaining follicles (sometimes hundreds) will degenerate. In the case of polycystic ovaries, however, the ovaries are much larger than normal, and there are a series of undeveloped follicles that appear in clumps, rather like a bunch of grapes. Polycystic ovaries are not particularly troublesome and in many cases they will not even affect your fertility. Where the problem starts, however, is when the cysts cause a hormonal imbalance, leading to a series of other symptoms. These symptoms are the difference between suffering from PCOS and from polycystic ovaries.

So a woman can have polycystic ovaries without having PCOS but all women with PCOS will have polycystic ovaries.

What symptoms could you experience? With the most extreme form of PCOS, you would tend to be overweight, have no or very few periods, be prone to acne, grow unusually heavy body hair, often on the face, breasts and inside of the legs, and be susceptible to mood swings. And with this can come problems with fertility and often recurrent miscarriages. Women with PCOS may be seven times more likely to develop diabetes because of problems with blood sugar balance.