Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

By Meghan Bailey on Apr 24, 2017

We sat down with obstetrics and gynecology provider Melissa Gutierrez, MD to discuss Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) effects on women, signs and symptoms of PCOS and even treatment options available. 

P​olycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition characterized by irregular and infrequent menstruation, symptoms due to elevated androgen (testosterone) levels, and ovaries with multiple small cysts. The menstrual irregularities are due to decreased ovulation, which can lead to fertility issues. Elevated testosterone levels may cause symptoms such as acne or male pattern hair distribution, such as unwanted facial hair, and male pattern hair loss.

Who does PCOS affect the most?

It usually affects around 10 percent of women who are within their childbearing years (between 15 and 44). Most often, women find out they have PCOS in their twenties or thirties when they struggle to conceive. However, PCOS can happen at any age after puberty. It also can affect women of all races and ethnicities. Your risk for PCOS may be higher if you are obese or if you have a mother, sister or aunt who has been diagnosed with PCOS.

What are some of the signs of PCOS?

Women with PCOS may be affected by symptoms such as acne and unwanted facial hair. Also, women with PCOS may not ovulate regularly, which could make it difficult to become pregnant. Women may also experience irregular menstrual cycles, or darkening of their skin around their neck, groin or breast area. 

What treatment options are available?

While there is no cure, you can manage your symptoms. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all treatment plan. It is something you will work on with your doctor based on your personal symptoms. 

Is there anything you can do to prevent getting PCOS?

No, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome cannot be prevented. But, early diagnosis and treatment help to prevent any long-term complications, such as infertility, metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes and heart disease.