Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs when a hormone imbalance interferes with normal ovulation. PCOS is a major cause of infertility; if it is not treated, it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome include irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, acne, male-pattern hair loss, and male-type hair growth on the face and body. Symptoms may occur early in the condition. Or they may develop gradually.
The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is not fully understood. Genetics are a factor.
There is no known cure for polycystic ovary syndrome. Treatment focuses on correcting reproductive hormone levels, metabolism problems, and body weight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the cornerstone of PCOS treatment. And medicines can be helpful.
Last Revised: February 7, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.