What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects up to 10% of reproductive-aged women, involves an excess production of testosterone and irregular menstrual cycles.
Ultrasound images of the ovary typically show numerous ovarian follicles (small, fluid-filled sacs containing the eggs). Contrary to this syndrome’s name, these follicles are not cysts but the normal eggs of the ovary, in higher numbers than normal.
PCOS is most commonly detected after puberty, when the menstrual cycle fails to regulate to a monthly cycle. Unwanted hair growth or acne can develop at the same time, and many people with this condition will not ovulate regularly, causing irregular menstrual bleeding and possibly infertility. You may be more likely to have PCOS if your mother or sister has it. You may also be more likely to have it if you have insulin resistance or are obese.
If menstrual irregularities are present, it’s important to get evaluated early. PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance, which can lead to problems such as infertility and an increased risk for diabetes. Higher rates of depression and anxiety also occur frequently with PCOS, so assessing emotional well-being is important.
UR Medicine's Treatments for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Treatment for PCOS often involves medication such as birth control pills or metformin. This can’t cure PCOS, but it helps reduce symptoms and prevent some health problems. Specific conditions such as infertility can be managed with ovulation induction medications. Lifestyle management and weight loss medications can be helpful for metabolic disorders.
The PCOS Center within the Strong Fertility Center specializes in difficult-to-manage cases. The team evaluates patients and recommends lifestyle changes that emphasize healthy behaviors, while also providing the support to make those changes last.
The PCOS Center’s multidisciplinary team includes a reproductive endocrinologist, nutritionist, and lifestyle coach. The approach includes:
- A medical history and risk-factor assessment by our physician team, made up of board-certified reproductive endocrinologists.
- A nutritional consultation with our registered dietician, a certified clinical nutrition specialist.
- A consultation with our counselor to work with you in overcoming barriers and meeting your personal goals.
The PCOS Center requires referral from your primary care physician or an OB/GYN physician.
What Sets Us Apart?
The providers in UR Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology are women’s health experts who are actively engaged in everything that supports women's health, including patient care, research, and education. Our PCOS physicians are internationally recognized experts in the diagnosis and management of PCOS.
Strong Fertility Center offers the Women’s Lifestyle Center, designed exclusively for women experiencing PCOS as well as women without PCOS who are experiencing difficulties in infertility and hormone function. The program is designed to:
- Evaluate your current medical condition.
- Recommend lifestyle changes that emphasize healthy behaviors and provide support to help maintain them.
- Coordinate fertility and hormone treatments.
UR Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology provides a full range of services. We also partner with our colleagues to help women with depression, heart disease, and dermatologic conditions. We look at the whole patient to ensure all needs are addressed.
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Our researchers are studying new diagnostic tests and treatments to improve the quality of life of people with PCOS. You may wish to help others by participating in a clinical study while receiving the newest treatment available. To learn about participating in a clinical trial, call (585) 487-3474 or email Lynda Kochman, RN, CCRC, research coordinator.Email Lynda Kochman