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Polycystic Ovarian Disease

What is polycystic ovary disease or polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Polycystic ovary disease or syndrome (PCOS) is a common type of hormone disorder. This condition can lead to excess hair growth, heavy or irregular or absent periods, and infertility.

The ovaries are two small organs that produce eggs and hormones. The ovaries contain follicles that produce and release an egg into the fallopian tubes each month. Hormones, including luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), regulate your menstrual cycle. The pituitary gland in your brain produces these hormones.

The exact cause of polycystic ovary disease or syndrome is unknown. Polycystic ovary disease results when a problem occurs with the normal hormone cycle in women. Low levels of FSH and high levels of androgens (male hormones) do not allow egg follicles in the ovaries to develop and release eggs. Instead, the follicles form multiple small cysts within the ovary. High levels of insulin in the blood can also interfere with ovulation and contribute to polycystic ovary disease.

Polycystic ovary disease is most frequently diagnosed in women during their twenties or thirties.

The most common symptoms are:

  1. Irregular menstrual cycles
  2. Increased hair growth on the upper lip, chin, sideburn area, chest, or belly
  3. Acne
  4. Loss of scalp hair
  5. Weight gain or difficulty in losing weight.

Women who have PCOS are at increased risk for diabetes mellitus, infertility, sleep apnea, mood disorders, high cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Reena Thomas will help diagnose this condition by performing a comprehensive medical evaluation and reviewing all your symptoms. She will then perform blood tests to test your testosterone levels, rule out other causes of irregular periods and insulin levels, and screen you for diabetes and high cholesterol levels. She may also arrange for you to get a pelvic ultrasound to evaluate the ovaries.

Dr Reena Thomas will review and discuss the blood test results with you and formulate an individualized treatment plan. She will educate you on this condition and the associated risks of diabetes mellitus and heart disease. This includes a comprehensive discussion of lifestyle modifications, oral contraceptives, and anti-androgen therapy. She will also guide you to see a fertility specialist if you have infertility issues.

Long-term follow-up is required to help manage this condition optimally. During your follow-up visits with Dr Reena Thomas, she will discuss your symptoms and medications with you, monitor your weight and blood pressure, and perform appropriate blood tests to optimize the management of associated conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, and heart disease.

At a Glance

Dr. Reena Thomas, MD

  • Dual American board-certified endocrinologist
  • Author of numerous academic and clinic research
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