Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)


This is a hormonal disorder. We call it "PCOS." It affects some women and girls of reproductive age. Often, it begins around the time a girl gets her first period. But for some women, it develops later.


We don't know the exact cause of PCOS. Because it runs in families, we think genetics plays a role. It may also be linked to things in your environment. It's likely related to a combination of factors.


PCOS causes a set of symptoms. There are three common symptoms, and if you have PCOS, you usually have at least two. The first symptom is irregular periods, or no periods at all. The second symptom is high levels of androgens. These are sex steroid hormones. If you have high levels of these hormones, you may have excess hair on your body and face. The third symptom is fluid-filled sacs called "cysts" on one or both ovaries. Cysts can keep your ovaries from working properly. You can have other symptoms, too, like acne, weight gain, and dark patches of skin. And if you're obese, your symptoms may be more severe.


PCOS is treated with medications to regulate your menstrual cycle and to reduce unwanted hair growth. You may also benefit from weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.