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    More information on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

    Symptoms in detail:

    Ovulation problems: no ovulation or irregular ovulation.

    Irregular cycle (because of irregular ovulation): no period at all, period that comes every 2-3 months or too frequently, heavy bleeding or bleeding that lasts for many days or even weeks, bleeding in between normal periods.

    Insulin resistance: the body does not respond normally to insulin. Insulin controls sugar levels in circulating blood. Sugar levels can be checked by blood tests e.g. high insulin levels, low sugar/insulin ratio, low levels of SHBG (SteroidHormoneBindingGlobulin).

    High levels of androgens:
    Androgens are the so-called ‘male’ hormones. This is actually a mistake, sinceboth men and women have androgens. However, men have high levels of androgens while women have low levels of androgens. Women with PCOS have slightly increased androgen levels, which cause the following symptoms:
    • Excessive facial hair (upper lip, cheeks, chin, neck) or body hair (abdomen, back, chest)
    • Acne
    • Alopecia: the hair get thinner, just as it happens to men
    The doctor usually tests for the following hormones:
    • Total and free testosterone
    • Di-hydrotestosterone (DHT)
    • Androstenendione
    • DHEA – S
    Women with PCOS have high levels of some of these hormones.

    Ultrasound: the following are detected in women with PCOS
    • Enlarged ovaries (volume >10ml)
    • Large number (>12) of small follicles (diameter 2-9mm) in the outer edge of the ovaries
    • Only few follicles in the center of the ovary (not necessarily)
    Many women might have polycystic ovaries without having PCOS, so the findings of the ultrasound are not sufficient in order to perform a diagnosis.
    Other: some women with PCOS might also have the following:
    • Elevated prolactin levels (prolactin levels tend to be higher early in the morning, you should do the test later in the morning, around 10am – 12 noon)
    • Elevated LH levels
    • Elevated LH:FSH ratio
    • Elevated AMH levels (Anti-Mullerian Hormone)
    Possible health issues related to PCOS
    Women with PCOS have certain health problems more frequently than the general population either because these problems are caused by the syndrome itself or because they have the same underlying cause as PCOS:
    • Hypertension
    • Type II diabetes
    • Coronary artery problems
    • Endometrial cancer (anything that creates ovulation problems is related to higher risk of endometrial cancer)
    You can read more about the way PCOS is believed to influence a woman’s health according to the consensus statement ofESHRE (EuropeanSocietyofHumanReproductionandEmbryology) andASRM (AmericanSocietyforReproductiveMedicine):
    ‘Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and longterm health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)’ – The Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-sponsored PCOS consensus workshop group
    Human Reproduction 2004 19(1):41-47

    Possible health problems during a pregnancy in women with PCOS
    • Diabetes during pregnancy
    • Hypertension during pregnancy
    • Pre-eclampsia
    • Premature birth
    • High risk for the baby to be admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit

    Gennima | Gynaecology & Reproduction Center

    346 Kifisias Avenue, 15233 Chalandri - Athens, Hellas
    +30 210 68 16 100
    +30 210 68 30 321 (fax)