Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Q&A - | IVF Treatment | Monash IVF Australia

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Q&A

Dr Moses Abe
Fertility Specialist

Q  What are Polycystic Ovaries?
A  Polycystic ovaries refer to the appearance of certain ovary types as seen on internal ultrasound scan of the pelvis (Trans-vaginal ultrasound). They are slightly larger than normal ovaries and have twice the number of follicles (small cysts).

Q  How common are polycystic ovaries (PCO)?
A  Polycystic ovaries are very common and are seen in about 1 in 5 women. Most women with PCO are healthy and fertile and do not have symptoms.

Q  Is this the same as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
A  No. The vast majority (80%) of women with polycystic ovaries do not have PCOS. PCOS often refers to the presence of polycystic ovaries and combination of a range of symptoms, most commonly infrequent / lack of periods, weight problems and presence of excessive facial/body hair with or without acne.

Q  What about fertility and PCOS? Will I need IVF?
A  Women with PCOS are more likely to have difficulty in achieving pregnancy given infrequent ovulation. IVF is not always required. Best to obtain a GP referral to fertility specialist who will make further assessment and outline options, such as ovulation induction, IUI, IVF etc.

Q  What causes PCOS?
A  The cause is currently unknown. PCOS appears to be inherited and runs in families.

Q  In what other ways can PCOS affect me?
A  PCOS increases the risk of developing the following, especially > age of 40 years: hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and abnormal growth of the lining of the womb (endometrium), as well as mood changes. It does not increase the risk of tumour of the cervix (neck of the womb), ovaries or breast.

Q  Is there a cure for PCOS?
A  None currently. However, a healthy life style is proven to significantly reduce the risks associated with PCOS, including infertility. These include a balanced diet, regular exercise and maintaining BMI within normal range.

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