Q.What are Polycystic Ovaries?
A.Polycystic ovaries refer to the appearance of certain ovary types as seen on pelvic scans. They are slightly larger than normal ovaries and have twice the number of follicles (small cysts). They are best seen on “internal ultrasound scans” (Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound)
Q.How common are polycystic ovaries (PCO)?
A.Polycystic ovaries are very common & are seen in about 1 in 5 women (precisely 22%). Most women with PCO are healthy and fertile and do not have symptoms.
Q.Is this the same as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
A.No. The vast majority (95%) of women with polycystic ovaries do not have PCOS. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome often refers to the presence of polycystic ovaries and combination of a range of symptoms, most commonly infrequent/lack of periods, weight problems and presence of excessive facial/body hair with or without acne.
Q.What about fertility and PCOS?
A.Women with PCOS are more likely to have difficulty in achieving pregnancy given the frequency of periods/ovulation.
Q.What causes PCOS?
A.The cause is currently unknown. PCOS appears to be inherited and runs in families
Q.In what other ways can PCOS affect me?
A.PCOS increases the risk of developing the following, especially > age of 40 years: hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and abnormal growth of the lining of the womb (endometrium), as well as mood changes. It does not increase the risk of tumour of the cervix (neck of the womb), ovaries or breast.
Q.Is there a cure for PCOS?
A.None currently. However, Healthy life style is proven to significantly reduce the risks associated with PCOS, including infertility. These include balanced diet, regular exercise and maintaining BMI within normal range. Specific measures by appropriate specialists are effective in inducing ovulation, regulate cycles and maintain normal blood sugar etc.