Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Overview of Symptoms, Causes, and Management

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting individuals assigned female at birth during their reproductive years. It's characterized by enlarged ovaries with multiple small cysts, disrupting menstrual cycles and fertility. PCOS also involves hormonal imbalances and metabolic issues.


  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Excess androgen hormones causing acne, oily skin, and excess body hair (hirsutism)
  • Polycystic ovaries detected via ultrasound
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Thinning hair or male-pattern baldness
  • Skin discolorations like dark patches (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Difficulty getting pregnant due to irregular ovulation


The exact cause is not fully understood but includes:

  • Hormonal Imbalance: Elevated androgen levels such as testosterone.
  • Insulin Resistance: Cells resist insulin effects, increasing insulin production and disrupting ovarian function.
  • Genetics: PCOS often runs in families.
  • Inflammation: Likely contributes to PCOS development.


  • Requires medical history, physical exam, hormone level tests (testosterone, LH, FSH), and ultrasound to visualize ovaries.


Focuses on symptom relief and complication prevention:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Balanced diet, exercise for weight management, and improving insulin sensitivity.
  • Medications: Hormonal contraceptives regulate cycles; Metformin improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Fertility Treatments: Clomiphene or assisted reproductive technologies aid conception.
  • Symptom Management: Treatments for acne, excess hair growth, and hair loss.
  • Regular Monitoring: Essential for adjusting treatment and monitoring long-term health.

Living with PCOS

  • Involves symptom management, healthy lifestyle, and seeking healthcare and community support for improved well-being.

PCOS impacts reproductive and overall health significantly. Understanding its symptoms, causes, and management options empowers informed decision-making for effective treatment. Early diagnosis and proactive management enhance quality of life. Consult a healthcare provider promptly if you suspect PCOS or experience related symptoms for personalized care and guidance.