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PCOS: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition causing many cysts in the ovaries. These cysts are actually tiny, immature eggs in the ovaries that have stopped growing. PCOS occurs in 15 % of women of reproductive age and has been linked to pre-diabetes, diabetes, heart disease, miscarriages, and even uterine cancer.

Effects of PCOS

PCOS causes high levels of certain hormones to build up in the ovaries, restricting the growth of the eggs. These eggs are not mature enough to be viable and in many cases, ovulation or the “drop” of an egg does not happen.


Women with PCOS have a higher risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes which leads to even higher amounts of hormones in the ovaries.

Miscarriage rates often increase if you are pregnant.

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Abnormal or absent periods
  • Abnormal or absent ovulation
  • Increased body hair
  • Increased body weight
  • Insulin resistance or diabetes


Blood tests may be done in order to examine hormone and cholesterol levels. In addition, we may also check for pre-diabetes or diabetes. An ultrasound may also be done.

Treatment Options

Weight loss in some women will improve problems associated with pre-diabetes or diabetes as well as lower your risk of heart problems and uterine cancer. Weight loss can be difficult for women with PCOS and at times, a diabetes medication may be needed. Metformin (Glucophage®) is often prescribed in this instance. Birth control pills or other hormones may also be used.