Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Also known as PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that affects women of reproductive age and can result in an increased risk of obesity, insulin resistance and other risk factors that can lead to heart conditions and stroke. It typically starts during adolescence, but symptoms may fluctuate over time. PCOS can cause:

  • hormonal imbalances
  • irregular or missed periods
  • increased facial or body hair
  • cysts in the ovaries.

PCOS is diagnosed by your healthcare provider when some of the following are present:

  • high levels of androgens (sex hormones) with lower levels of estrogen and progesterone
  • irregular or missed periods
  • polycystic ovaries found on an ultrasound scan

PCOS may contribute to increased blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression, all of which are important risk factors for heart conditions and stroke.

If you experience any of these symptoms, discuss them with your healthcare providers.