PCOS is very common, occurring in about 15% of the female population in the reproductive age group. The symptoms may include any or all of the following: excess hair growth (hirsutism), persistent acne, irregular periods and infertility. It is frequently associated with being overweight which makes the symptoms more severe but is equally seen in women of normal weight. There is often a family history of PCOS as it is thought to be caused by a combination of genes which over express themselves to produce the symptoms.
The term polycystic ovaries describes ovaries that contain many small cysts (about twice that of normal ovaries), usually no more than 8mm each. These cysts are egg containing follicles that have not developed properly due to a number of hormonal abnormalities.
The basic problem is that the ovaries are producing too much of the male hormones, androgens. Although every woman in their reproductive years produces androgens, the symptoms of PCOS appear when an excess of these hormones (particularly testosterone) are circulating. The first symptoms usually appear at the time of puberty and may be particularly severe when associated with overweight. The diagnosis may be made on the symptoms alone but an ultrasound examination of the ovaries and some simple blood tests are usually performed.
The good news is that once the diagnosis has been made, there are many ways to treat the syndrome, mainly depending on the objective of the treatment with a very high degree of success.
Mr Gudi and Mr Shah have a huge experience in the research and the treatment of polycystic ovaries with extensive research done in addition in India over the past 10 years.
For further reading on PCOS, click here to read an excellent NY Times article by Hilda Hutcherson.