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PCOS: An Inadequate Name for a Serious Condition

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: What Is It?

Throughout medical history, terms for ailments have been revised to give a better idea of what issues they represent. Many women struggling with a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, feel the same way about their affliction’s current moniker — and they’re calling for a change.

PCOS may be present in as many as 10 percent of all childbearing-age women, including some 5 million in this nation alone. It occurs when some internal dysfunction, possibly related to insulin production, forces the ovaries to produce higher-than-normal levels of androgens, or male hormones. The hormonal changes cause cysts in the ovaries to continue to grow rather without releasing eggs as they normally would. In addition to this lack of ovulation, PCOS can also cause excess body or facial hair, menstrual problems and weight gain, and it might eventually contribute to other serious complications such as diabetes.

What’s In a Name? Not Enough

The problem with the term “polycystic ovary syndrome” is that it simply doesn’t address the full scope, effects, and implications of this disorder. The terminology is also somewhat misleading; you don’t actually have to have a problem with ovarian cysts to have PCOS, nor does the presence of such a problem automatically mean that you do. The National Institutes of Health apparently agree with this criticism. A panel convened in January 2013 concluded that the illness should be renamed while also calling for more research into its possible causes.

If you are having trouble getting pregnant, getting checked for PCOS is a smart move. Depending on the cause of your infertility, Dr. Denker can prescribe medications such as Clomid or possibly even laparoscopic surgery to help you overcome the problem.Contact Palm Beach Fertility for a consultation — we want to help!