Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Hyperandrogens in Women

Do you suffer from:
  •     Irregular or absent menses
  •     Painful ovulation
  •     Excess body or facial hair growth
  •     Thinning of head hair
  •     Oily skin
  •     Acne outbreaks
  •     Irritable/aggressive mood changes
  •     Abdominal obesity
  •     Type 2-Diabetes
  •     Skin tags

What is it?

The classic description of this condition refers to the production of multiple follicles in the ovaries. The follicles are not all released at ovulation causing cysts to form on the ovaries. As a result, the ovary secretes higher levels of testosterone and estrogens which can cause irregular or absent menses, infertility, excess body hair growth, acne outbreaks and thinning head hair. PCOS is also often associated with obesity, diabetes and hypertension. However, in clinical practice, PCOS and hyperandrogenism can present in a variety of ways including irregular menses, painful ovulation with low body weight and insulin imbalances that result in a hypoglycaemic tendency.

A clinical picture of hyperandrogenism may also be present without multiple cysts occurring on the ovaries. This may be a pre-disease state or can occur because of adrenal gland imbalances. The symptoms of hyperandrogenism are much the same with excess body hair, acne outbreaks, oily skin, mood changes and thinning of head hair.

The exact cause of PCOS or hyperandrogenism is still unclear. It is thought that problems with insulin secretion is the primary cause as it results in higher androgen production. A balanced and healthy diet and lifestyle is essential for treatment of this condition and any related symptoms.

Specific Testing
  • Testosterone levels may be elevated or normal
  • DHEA-S levels may be elevated or normal
  • FSH and LH levels may be elevated or high normal
  • Ratio of LH to FSH or 3 or more
  • Fasting glucose may be abnormal to indicate sugar regulation problems
  • Insulin or Hemoglobin A1c may also be done to assess insulin sensitivity
  • Ultrasound to assess for multiple cysts on the ovaries
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