Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. It is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. The syndrome is named after the characteristic cysts which may form on the ovaries, though it is not the only symptom that is seen. Women with PCOS produce higher than normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance causes their body to skip menstrual periods and makes it harder for them to get pregnant in future. PCOS also causes hair growth on the face and body and baldness. It can also contribute to long term health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

The condition was first described in 1935 by American Gynecologists Irving F. Stein, Sr. and Michael L. Leventhal from whom it’s original name of “Stein- Leventhal Syndrome” is taken. The earliest published description of a person with what is now recognized as PCOS was in 1721 in Italy. Cyst- related changes to the ovaries were described in 1844. PCOS is a problem with hormones that affects women during their childbearing years(age between 15 to 44). Between 2.2 and 26.7 percent of women in this age group have PCOS. Many women have PCOS but don’t know it. In one study up to 70% of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed. PCOS affects a woman’s ovaries, the reproductive organs that produce estrogen and progesterone– hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also produce a small amount of male hormone called androgen. The ovaries release eggs to be fertilized by a man’s sperm. The release of an egg each month is called ovulation.

Follicle-stimulating hormone(FSH) and Luteinizing hormone(LH), which are produced in the pituitary gland, control ovulation. FSH stimulates the ovary to produce a follicle- a sac that contains an egg and then LH triggers the ovary to release a mature egg. PCOS is a syndrome or group of symptoms that affects the ovaries and ovulation It has three main features:-

  • cysts in the ovaries.
  • high levels of male hormones.
  • irregular or skipped periods.

In PCOS, many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word ‘polycystic’ means ‘many cysts’. These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg that never mature enough to trigger ovulation. The lack of ovulation alters levels of estrogen, progesterone, FSH and LH. Progesterone levels lower than usual while androgen levels are higher than usual. Extra male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle.


  1. High levels of male hormone prevents the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.
  2. genes may contribute to the condition.
  3. Insulin Resistance- when cells can’t use insulin properly, the body’s demand for insulin increases. The pancreas make more insulin to compensate. Extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more male hormone.
  4. Inflammation- women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their body.


  • Irregular periods- a lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month.
  • heavy bleeding- the uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, so when it sheds causes heavy flow of blood.
  • hair growth- hair growth on face and body including back, belly and chest. Excess hair growth is called Hirsutism.
  • acne- production of more male hormone makes the skin oilier.
  • weight gain
  • male pattern baldness


  • Visit a good gynecologist for proper medications.
  • take control of the diet.
  • exercise regularly.

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