Typically, about five follicles begin maturing each month. During ovulation, one or more follicles will release a mature egg. In a woman who has polycystic ovaries, twice the normal number of follicles mature each month. However, the bulk of these eggs are not released.
While roughly 30 percent of women have polycystic ovaries, roughly half of that amount go on to develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Insulin resistance is thought to be the origin of the syndrome. Insulin resistance leads the body to flood your system with extra insulin. This causes the cycle regulating hormones to get out of balance as well. One of the hormones is testosterone. The extra testosterone impedes ovulation, which compromises fertility.
The symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods. Some women do not have periods. When menstruation does occur, the bleeding can range from light to very heavy. Abdominal discomfort is also common. A common symptom is excessive hair growth. This will occur on the face, abdomen, and chest. Women with PCOS often struggle with acne as well. Issues with weight are often prevalent in women with PCOS.
PCOS is diagnosed through medical history, ultrasound, and blood tests. Treatment ranges from lifestyle changes, medications, creams, and even surgery. Your treatment will hinge on your plans to conceive.
To manage the pain, try warm baths, hot water bottles, over-the-counter medications, and loose clothing. Excess body hair can be addressed through waxing, electrolysis, or laser hair removal.