Written by
The Courier-Journal

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a common cause of infertility. Experts say PCOS afflicts about one in ten women of childbearing age.

What is PCOS?

A condition marked by an imbalance of a woman’s female sex hormones. It may cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant and other problems.

When diagnosed?

Women are usually diagnosed in their 20s or 30s, but the condition also may affect teenage girls. Women with this disorder often have a mother or sister with similar symptoms.

Symptoms of PCOS

Changes in the menstrual cycle, such as absent or irregular; development of male sex characteristics, such as decreased breast size or deepening of the voice; skin changes, such as acne that gets worse or dark or thick skin markings and creases around the armpits, groin, neck and breasts due to insulin sensitivity.

Signs and tests for PCOS

A doctor may find enlarged ovaries,diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain or obesity. Doctors may test for levels of different hormones such as estrogen, and other blood tests may include fasting glucose, thyroid function or others. Other tests may include vaginal ultrasound or pelvic laparoscopy.

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