Scan revealed you’ve got polycystic ovaries? It doesn’t mean you’ve got the full-blown syndrome.

Polycystic ovary syndrome – or PCOS as it’s known – is often cited for the reason some women fail to get pregnant?

But is it as simple as that?

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Karen Morton, founder of Dr Morton’s The Medical Helpine, explains: “The answer to the question is: it can do. There is an enormous difference between women whose ovaries are or have been rather lazy, and women who have true polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

“A ‘polycystic ovary’ is the term given to describe an ultrasound appearance when the ovaries are a tiny bit bigger than average, and have multiple pea-sized beads of fluid around their edge. These are immature egg follicles. This is not painful or troublesome in any way and, more often than not, is an incidental finding when a woman has a scan for some unrelated reason.

“Polycystic ovary syndrome is a whole person problem, with several metabolic (body chemistry) features which lead to the classical features of being overweight, having infrequent – if any – periods, and difficulty with carbohydrate metabolism. Women often have excessive facial and other male pattern hair growth problems too.

“There are several hormone and other tests which help make the diagnosis, such as slightly raised testosterone and a low level of a protein called globulin, which grips onto the testosterone so it can’t stimulate the hair root.

“This is not a rare condition, and treatment should be for the thing which bothers the woman the most. By that I mean, if weight is the main issue, a low carbohydrate diet [might help] and she may need treatment with metformin. If a woman’s overweight, losing just 5% of weight will dramatically improve the way your ovaries work, and improve fertility.

“This is not a rare condition, and treatment should be for the thing which bothers the woman the most. By that I mean, if weight is the main issue, a low carbohydrate diet [might help] and she may need treatment with metformin. If a woman’s overweight, losing just 5% of weight will dramatically improve the way your ovaries work, and improve fertility.

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