The Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder in women in reproductive age. It is a complex disease with no identifiable etiology. The syndrome is associated with a variety of characteristics related to reproduction, metabolism, skin and mental health.
The causes of the disease are not yet clear. Hereditary, genetic and environmental factors appear to contribute to the onset of the syndrome.
The condition usually appears in adolescence with menstrual disorders, large ovaries with excessive number of follicles and acne. It is noteworthy that in almost 50% of women the syndrome is not diagnosed and as a result the estimation of the time in which PCOS appears in a woman’s life differs.
The symptoms of PCOS are:
· Hair growth (due to high levels of androgens)
· Hair loss (due to high levels of androgens)
· Menstrual disorders (secondary amenorrhea, hypermenorrhea)
· Excessive number of follicles on ultrasound
· Increased body mass index or metabolic syndrome
It is important that the differential diagnosis includes other diseases with similar symptoms. The Rotterdam 2003 criteria and the four female phenotypes based on them have been used in clinical practice in the recent years. More specifically, 2 of the 3 should apply:
· Oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea
· Hyperandrogenism confirmed by phenotype or hormonal tests
· Appearance of polycystic ovaries on ultrasound
The anovulation due to irregularity of the menstrual cycles is the main cause of infertility. The specialized obstetrician-gynecologist will suggest you some medication or lifestyle changes to achieve the desired body weight and enhance the regularity of ovulation. It should be noted that the chances of having children are the same as the chances of women of the same age without polycystic ovarian syndrome.
To treat PCOS the following are recommended:
· Healthy diet
· Normal body weight
· Physical exercise
· Stop smoking
Identifying the factors that can influence or worsen the hormonal imbalance in women with PCOS is the first step moving forward.
Dr. Melina Stasinou has worked as the managing director of the Ultrasound Department at Create Fertility, one of the largest IVF clinics. In addition, she is an Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine on in vitro fertilization and gynecological endocrinology. She collaborates with Hygeia IVf Embryogenesis and specializes in Assisted Human Reproduction.
You may consult the specialized Obstetrician – Gynecologist Dr. Melina Stasinou for an individualized diagnosis and treatment of the polycystic ovarian syndrome.