Polycystic ovaries are a condition where ovaries contain excess primordial follicles. Despite the name Polycystic it does not contain any cyst and contains only follicles. The follicles are naturally present in the ovaries and they are small fluid filled sacs containing ovum or eggs. Normally during reproductive years each ovary contain 5-12 follicles but when there are 12-15 follicles in an ovary the ovary is called Polycystic.
When the presence of follicles is severe say more than 50 follicles then the condition is called as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is different from Polycystic Ovaries and causes infertility, increased facial hair and disturbed hormonal balance.
Causes for Polycystic Ovaries
During a menstrual cycle usually 5-10 follicles develop at the beginning and later around 14th day, one of the follicle (leading follicle) gets bigger and shortly after that ovulation takes place with the release of the eggs. The remaining eggs regress and disappear. These occur every four weeks and thus the menstrual bleed happens. When there is Polycystic ovaries the cyclic events do not take place and instead no leading egg is produced. Only small immature follicles are produced in every cycle and the reason for this is yet to be found out.
PCO tends to appear during the 20s in a girl’s growing years. PCO is a very common condition and 1 in every 5 woman has them. Usually they are left undiagnosed unless they cause fertility problems.
Signs of PCO
With PCO certain woman may have hormonal disturbance and imbalance which will cause the following.
- General Acne
- Irregular and infrequent period
- Reduced fertility
- Hair excess on face, Chest and pubic area
- Oily skin
- Resistance to body’s natural insulin (blood sugar increase)
- Effective Treatments for PCO
There are some simple steps to treat PCO condition like regular exercise to activate insulin, weight reduction, low carbohydrate and low glycemic index diet, taking oral contraceptive pills to treat hormone imbalance and if trying to get pregnant by taking fertility drugs.
If the above measures are inadequate, then probably laparoscopic ovarian drilling will certainly help. Pregnancy can be easily achieved with the use of ART (Artificial Reproductive technique).