Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. Women and girls ranging from eight or nine years old to their post-menopause years have been diagnosed with PCOS. Between the fact that PCOS affects approximately 5 to 10 percent of women and the activity on the GirlTalk thread telling us that you want to know all about it, we've decided to help you get the information you need. Just read on!
PCOS can usually be detected by ultrasound. Most, but not all, women with this condition have enlarged ovaries and numerous small cysts located along the outer edge of each ovary (polycystic appearance). The presence of these cysts is what the condition is named after.
Signs and symptoms vary from person to person, in both type and severity. Ethnic background may also be a factor—women of Asian descent, for example, do not manifest the skin discolorations that signal PCOS.
To be diagnosed with the PCOS, your doctor looks for three things: (1) symptoms and physical findings of PCOS, (2) positive results from hormonal testing, and (3) verification via ultrasound.