Polycystic Ovary Disease
Polycystic ovaries are two to five times larger than healthy ovaries. They have a thick white covering and are filled with a high number of follicles are various stages of development. Polycystic ovary disease is most frequently diagnosed in women during their twenties or thirties. Women with polycystic ovary disease may need fertility treatments to make pregnancy possible.
SymptomsPolycystic ovary disease can produce a variety of symptoms. Your periods may change and become irregular, heavy, very light, or absent. You may experience infertility. You may gain weight or become obese. Unwanted hair may grow on your face or body. You may develop male sex characteristics, such as a deepening voice, male pattern baldness, or decreased breast size. Acne may become worse. You may be diagnosed as having insulin resistance or diabetes.
An ultrasound may be used to show the size of your ovaries and the thickness of their coverings. Ultrasound testing is painless. Your doctor or a radiation technologist will gently place and move a conduction device on your skin. The conduction device transmits sound waves to a computer that creates images on a video monitor. A transvaginal ultrasound may be used to obtain even more detailed pictures. For a transvaginal ultrasound, a conduction wand is gently inserted into your vagina during the test.
Am I at Risk
Risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing polycystic ovary disease, although some people that develop the condition do not have any risk factors. People with all of the risk factors may never develop the disease; however, the chance of developing polycystic ovary disease increases with the more risk factors you have. You should tell your doctor about your risk factors and discuss your concerns.
Risk factors for polycystic ovary disease:
_____ Insulin resistance or high blood insulin levels are associated with polycystic ovary disease.
_____ Obesity increases the risk of polycystic ovary disease. Women that carry body fat on their abdomen tend to have a higher risk than women with body fat that is distributed throughout their body.
_____ Researchers think that genetics may play a role in polycystic ovary disease. If your mother or sisters have polycystic ovary disease, your risk is increased.
ComplicationsInfertility can be a complication of polycystic ovary disease. Pregnancy may be achieved with fertility treatments. Women with polycystic ovary disease have an increased risk for breast cancer and endometrial cancer. An increase in male hormones may cause hair growth and acne, conditions that your doctor may help to resolve.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.