Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCO stands for Polycystic Ovaries (ovaries) and is a term for the appearance of the ovary on an ultrasound scan, where there are many small follicles in the ovaries. The follicles lie like a string of pearls on the outer edge of the ovaries. Women with PCO do not necessarily have noticeable symptoms – and many women live their whole lives without discovering it. The typical picture of PCO is often that the follicles start to grow, but at an early stage in the menstrual cycle they stop and ovulation does not occur.
However, some women with PCO occasionally ovulate quite normally, and therefore there is a chance of getting pregnant naturally.
The difference between PCO and PCOS
PCO is a diagnosis made by ultrasound. PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and means that in addition to having the characteristic polycystic ovaries, you also have signs of:
- Increased amount of male sex hormone.
- Tendency to increased hair growth (hirsutism), i.e. beard growth on the face and/or increased hair on the body, – while the hair on the head may well become thinner and a tendency towards impure skin (acne).
- Rare or absent ovulations, i.e. irregular, often long cycles > 35 days
What causes PCO(S)?
Genetic factor – ie. a hereditary component – where some women will be more predisposed to developing PCOS than others.
PCOS and overweight
When you have PCOS and are overweight at the same time, sensitivity to insulin decreases (insulin resistance). Insulin is produced in the pancreas, and if sensitivity is reduced, the pancreas produces a greater amount of insulin as compensation. This ‘overproduction’ of insulin has an influence on one’s sex hormones in a complicated interaction, which i.a. causes irregular periods, lack of ovulation and increased production of the male sex hormone.
Therefore, it is important to strengthen your insulin sensitivity by keeping your weight normal (BMI < 25) and exercising. This can increase insulin sensitivity, which is the most optimal way to achieve a better hormonal balance and to prevent i.e. reduce the risks of developing type 2 diabetes (diabetes) and cardiovascular disease.
Medical treatment of reduced insulin sensitivity
If, as a result of your PCOS, you have developed insulin resistance (regardless of whether you are thin, normal weight or overweight), you can use a preparation against Type 2 Diabetes (Metformin). This medication increases sensitivity to insulin. However, not everyone benefits from Metformin.
Birth control pills can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle.
We recommend that you consult your doctor or us about the possibility of these treatments.