HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, most commonly known as PCOS, affects one in 10 women after puberty.
The condition occurs when the ovaries produce abnormal amounts of male hormones that are usually present in small amounts.
Most women will not find out they have PCOS until they are trying to conceive. While the exact cause is not known, doctors believe it could be genetic or due to high levels of insulin. You have to meet at least two of three criteria to be diagnosed with PCOS.
“[To be diagnosed with PCOS a patients must have] at least 12 follicles or little immature eggs, if you will, in the ovary that are diagnosed by ultrasound only, and this is called a string of pearls,” said Dr. Uvaldo Cantu, Board Certified OBGYN at Valley Baptist Medical Center. “When you look at the ultrasound it looks like a necklace of pearls and usually, it has to be at least 12. These are fluid-filled sacs that have immature eggs, which are eggs that never got to be released.”
The other criteria include the increase of testosterone and Oligoovulation which means an irregular period.
There are many ways to help diagnose PCOS such as blood tests, ultrasounds, physicals, and pelvic exams.
Some symptoms include the loss or thinning of hair, acne, weight gain, or darkening of the skin.
“A lot of women have beards even at an early age, and they started shaving at a young age. So those are the main symptoms that should prompt someone that something may be going on. The most important one, of course, would be your irregular periods,” Cantu said.
Treatment options vary on whether the patient wants to become pregnant.