Fresno Gynecologist

Polycystic Ovarian SyndromeFresno, CA

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that causes a woman’s ovaries to produce too many androgens, a male sex hormone. While it is completely normal for a woman to have small amounts of androgens in their body, too much of this hormone can often lead to a formation of many small cysts growing in the ovaries. When too much PCOS is present, a woman will also experience irregular or prolonged menstrual periods. The hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS will lead to various types of problems in the ovaries, including undeveloped eggs, as well as eggs never being released.

For women who are concerned about PCOS causing problems when trying to get pregnant or during their pregnancy, it is important that they understand a PCOS diagnosis is directly connected to a higher rate of miscarriages, a higher rate of C-sections, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

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    How polycystic ovarian syndrome is diagnosed

    In order for a woman to get a proper diagnosis for PCOS, she will need to make an appointment with a gynecologist. It is necessary for her to undergo a full physical examination, which also includes a full pelvic examination. Additional tests that may be necessary include an ultrasound and bloodwork. An ultrasound is able to provide pictures of the ovaries and allows a gynecologist to see if there are any existing cysts, as well as see how thick the endometrium is. A blood test can provide a great deal of insight, including the levels of androgens, blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol.

    Health complications commonly associated with PCOS include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels
  • Sleep apnea
  • Cardiovascular problems due to elevated levels of C-reactive protein
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Liver inflammation

  • Possible causes of polycystic ovarian syndrome

    While the exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome is still not known, it has been determined that this disorder is directly connected to hormone imbalances within the body. The research to find the exact cause of PCOS continues and focuses on topics like the role genetics play, whether environmental exposures are involved, the links between PCOS and obesity and the links between PCOS and ethnicity.

    Common risk factors for PCOS, therefore, include the following:

  • Having one or more family members diagnosed with PCOS
  • Having an abnormal amount of androgens
  • Having high levels of insulin

  • Symptoms associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome

    According to Hopkins Medicine, women with PCOS are more likely to develop certain serious health problems, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with the heart and blood vessels and uterine cancer.

    Common symptoms associated with PCOS include:

  • Having menstrual periods that last longer than the normal five to seven days or not having any regular monthly menstrual periods, instead of occurring only every few months or so
  • Having a great deal of facial hair or body hair
  • Breaking out with facial acne or having oily skin
  • Experiencing male pattern baldness or a thinning of the hair
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Experiencing various types of infertility problems
  • Experiencing a darkening of the skin, which tends to take place more often in the neck area, the groin area and/or underneath the breast area
  • Experiencing multiple skin tags in the neck and armpit areas
  • Common treatment options

    While there is currently no cure available for treating PCOS, there are a variety of treatment options that can help minimize any symptoms. Every woman should consult with a gynecologist in order to determine which treatment options are going to ideally work, with a goal of improving her overall quality of life. Current treatments for polycystic ovarian syndrome are also able to reduce a woman’s risk of being diagnosed with certain types of cancers, another essential reason all treatment options should always be explored when diagnosed with PCOS.

    Common treatment options for PCOS include the following:

  • Taking progestin or metformin, which are two hormones commonly used for regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle
  • Taking oral contraceptives for menstruation regulation
  • Removing unwanted body or facial hair
  • Maintaining a healthy weight, which includes eating a high fiber and low sugar diet
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Quitting smoking
  • Laparoscopic ovarian drilling, which is an outpatient option for women with severe PCOS

  • By managing the symptoms of PCOS, a woman can still be healthy and happy in life, especially with a supportive partner and/or family structure. 

    At Camilla L. Marquez, MD, we can help you relieve symptoms and pain associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Visit us at our Fresno office today.