Why Second Opinion is important for patients? - Dr Rita Bakshi

4 Things you should know about PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, as you hear this name; it raises concerns about women being infertile. However, there are many misconceptions about this condition which can lead to unnecessary fears or different ideas of what PCOS means for your health. Let’s understand the five things around this hormonal disorder as under:

1. PCOS doesn’t necessarily mean that you have ovarian cysts.

Though it is found in many cases woman with PCOS have cysts on their ovaries but that doesn’t mean all women with PCOS are having the same. PCOS is a misnomer and does not mean that there are ovarian cysts and it also does not mean that surgery is required to treat cysts if they do form. “Polycystic ovaries” is the ultrasound appearance of many small follicles in the early stages of egg development. These follicles give the ultrasound appearance of a black “string of pearls”. Many of these early follicles do not grow, mature, or ovulate. For that reason, most women with PCOS do not have regular menstrual cycles and may have difficulty getting pregnant without medication.

2. PCOS has variable signs and symptoms.

Women with PCOS do not have the same symptoms of findings which can make the diagnosis difficult. The most common sign is irregular menstrual cycles or even no menstrual bleeding. It is important to remember that many things other than PCOS can cause menstrual irregularity so it is important to evaluate for alternative conditions in order to confirm the diagnosis of PCOS. Some patients with PCOS have elevated testosterone levels in their blood while others may have increased unwarranted hair growth or persistent acne. Patients can be thin or obese. Your fertility specialist is trained enough to determine whether your individual signs and symptoms are consistent with the diagnosis of PCOS.

3. PCOS may increase your risk of uterine cancer.

If the patient is having a situation with no regular menstrual bleeding because of lack of ovulation, the lining of the uterus does not get a chance to shed and start over. In PCOS, the lining continues to thicken over weeks or months. This can increase the risk of uterine cancer. It is recommended that patients with PCOS, when not attempting to become pregnant, should receive medical therapy which can ensure a thin endometrial lining and minimize the risk of cancer.

4. PCOS also doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant.

It is quite true that women with PCOS have difficulty in achieving pregnancy. Unlike women who ovulate and have a period every month, women with PCOS don’t ovulate in a predictable fashion (or at all) and therefore may have minimal chances to become pregnant. However, due to the effective treatment procedures and medications, woman can experience ovulation each cycle. In fact, of all conditions known to contribute to infertility, PCOS is one of the easiest to fix!

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