Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), is one of the most common, and treatable, sources of infertility in women. The providers at Capital Women's Care Howard County located in Fulton, Maryland, offer treatment for PCOS to help manage your symptoms, reduce the risk of other health problems, and get pregnant if you plan to have children.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Sometimes called polycystic ovarian syndrome, PCOS, is a common women’s health problem that involves an imbalance of reproductive hormones. The hormone imbalance may cause problems with your ovaries, leading to irregular menstrual periods and lack of ovulation.

It’s also common to develop many ovarian cysts with PCOS, although this doesn’t always happen.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

An irregular menstrual cycle is the most common symptom of PCOS. You may skip periods, have fewer than eight periods per year, or have periods that happen more frequently than every 28 days.

Other signs and symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Too much hair on your face or other body parts where men usually have hair

  • Acne on your face, chest, and back

  • Thinning hair on top of your head

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Patches of thick, darker skin

  • Oily skin

  • Multiple cysts on your ovaries

  • Difficulty getting pregnant

Who gets PCOS?

PCOS is common, affecting 5-10% of women ages 15-44, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Most of the time, women find out they have PCOS in their 20s and 30s, when they begin to have a difficult time getting pregnant.

All women of childbearing years are susceptible to getting PCOS, but you may be at higher risk if you’re obese or have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.

To what other health problems is PCOS linked?

If left untreated, PCOS may lead to the following potentially serious conditions:

  • Diabetes

  • Sleep apnea

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Endometrial cancer

  • Infertility

How do you diagnose and treat PCOS?

First, your expert OB/GYN at Capital Women’s Care performs a thorough physical and pelvic exam to look for signs of PCOS. They may ask questions about your symptoms, medical history, and menstrual cycles.

They may order blood tests to check your hormone and blood sugar levels or take a pelvic ultrasound to look for ovarian cysts.

If you have PCOS, your Capital Women’s Care provider discusses the best options for treatment. Depending on your unique needs, this may include lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise to lose weight.  

If your condition is severe, or doesn’t improve with lifestyle changes, they may recommend medications.

If you suspect you may have PCOS, call Capital Women's Care Howard County, or request an appointment online today.