Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or polycystic ovaries, is not a very common condition among women. Only one out of twenty women has this condition, however, it is serious enough that it merits basic knowledge for any woman of childbearing age.

The medical term for polycystic ovarian syndrome is Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. It is caused by hormonal imbalances in the body, which in turn causes the formation of cystic in the ovaries. In diagnosing the condition, doctors would mostly base it on the formation of the cysts rather than on their presence alone.

Having polycystic ovaries can cause a lot of trouble for women. For one thing, they would be facing problems on getting pregnant. It is actually considered as one of the top causes of infertility in females.

So, how do you spot this condition? Read on to find out.

There are a variety of symptoms that you can watch out for. The condition might present itself in the early stages of adolescence with irregular menstrual periods. Having constant, irregular menstrual periods is a sure sign that a woman’s body is experiencing imbalances in the production of hormones, may it be caused by stress or other internal factors.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, may also be related to high levels of androgen in the body. This type of hormone is found in males, but women have it too, although, in smaller amounts. An increase in androgen in your system will cause a variety of male-related symptoms to occur. This includes male-pattern baldness, increased hair growth especially in the body or hirsutism, and acne.

Other symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome are weight gain, oily skin, increased insulin levels, dandruff, increased cholesterol levels, increased blood pressure and the development of multiple cysts in the ovaries.

In diagnosing polycystic ovaries, your doctor would be submitting you to a variety of tests to rule out other conditions with the same symptoms. Other diseases with almost-same symptoms would be hypothyroidism and increased prolactin hormones.

One of those tests would be blood work that would gauge your hormone levels. Serum testing would also determine the levels of testosterone and DHEA in your body. Women that are positive for polycystic ovarian syndrome would exhibit elevated levels of the aforementioned.

Another test for polycystic ovarian syndrome would be ultrasonography or ultrasound imaging. This procedure would allow the doctor to visualize the cysts in your ovaries. However, this cannot be considered as a confirmatory procedure since you can have cysts, but not have PCOS. PCOS is usually dependent on hormone levels. There are no special preparations involved in this procedure, so the patient does not need to worry. No pain is involved as well.

Other more accurate imaging tests would be the Computed Tomography Scan and the Magnetic Resonance Imaging. They might make use of x-rays and dyes which could lead to some degree of complications. Allergy to dyes is very common, and a hypoallergenic dye is also available.

PCOS could lead to a lot of complications for women of childbearing age. It is best to have the condition diagnosed early in order to have the best treatment available.

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