PCOS is a condition where in addition to polycystic ovaries, there is a hormone imbalance. Approximately 1 in 5 women have polycystic ovaries (where the ovary is larger than usual and has lots of small cysts around the edge of it when seen on ultrasound). PCOS occurs in only 5% of the population and is the ultrasound appearance of cysts plus the following symptoms.
- Greasy skin
- Problematic hair growth (especially the face)
- Hair loss on the scalp
- Irregular periods
- Weight gain
- Difficulty conceiving
- Problems in pregnancy
There may also occasionally be longer term health risks such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The treatment options for PCOS are individualised and depend on the nature of the individual’s problems. Treatment may simply be diet and exercise alone. In some cases there is medication or surgical treatment available. There are UK charities who assist women with PCOS.