A Deeper Look into PCOS, Part I

Written by Dr. Georgia Tetlow, MD and edited by Clare Abercrombie, BS Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was originally described as a syndrome including amenorrhea (lack of menses), hirsutism (excess body hair), and obesity in association with enlarged polycystic ovaries. The classic definition of PCOS includes women who have irregular periods, do not ovulate and have hyperandrogenism (excess testosterone and DHEA-S). It is a condition in which there is an imbalance of female sex hormones. This hormone imbalance causes changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, cysts in the ovaries, difficulty getting pregnant, and is often associated with type 2 diabetes and increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

In a typical menstrual cycle, follicles develop in the ovaries. These follicles contain eggs, and once an egg is sufficiently mature to be released, it travels into the fallopian tubes and this is referred to as ovulation. Polycystic ovaries are much larger than normal because there are multiple undeveloped follicles which become follicular cysts, thereby creating polycystic (multiple cysts) ovaries.

PCOS occurs most commonly in women during their reproductive years and its estimated that up to 10% of all women have PCOS. There is uncertainty as to the actual cause of PCOS but these factors are likely involved: genetic predisposition, insulin resistance, obesity, and/or environmental chemical pollution.

Interested in learning more about an integrative approach to PCOS? Next week's post will explore minimally invasive treatments for PCOS. Would you like to learn more about Philadelphia Integrative Medicine? Give Denise a call at 888-702-7974 ext. 2 or email at info@philly-im.com

Come to our Mind Body Medicine class on March 7th from 6:30-8:00pm, where Dr. Georgia Tetlow, MD and Lauren Houser, CRNP lead an interactive group class on the science and practice of the mind-body connection. Admission is free! Register here.