fbpx

COVID-19 update:  Our hospital is still fully open for appointments and admissions, however visitors are not permitted.

Polycystic Ovaries

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition affecting at least 14% of all women of reproductive age.

Symptoms of polycystic ovaries

To diagnose polycystic ovaries 2 out of 3 of the above criteria are required. Clinically one or more of the following symptoms may also be present:

  • Irregular ovulation or no ovulation
  • Infertility; difficulty in becoming pregnant
  • Recurrent miscarriages
  • Unwanted facial and/or body hair (hirsutism)
  • Oily skin, acne
  • Being overweight, rapid weight gain especially around the waist and abdomen (central obesity); or difficulty in losing weight

Causes

  • In PCOS there is an imbalance between the pituitary gonadotropin luteinizing hormone (LH) and the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), resulting in a lack of ovulation and an increased testosterone production.
  • Nobody knows exactly what causes this imbalance but it is felt that it is probably a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
  • Many women with PCOS have a weight problem and there appears to be a relationship between PCOS and the body’s ability to make insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the change of sugar, starches and other food into energy for the body’s use or for storage. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, in which the body cannot use insulin efficiently. Since some women with PCOS make too much insulin, this leads to high circulating blood levels of insulin, called hyperinsulinemia.

It is believed that hyperinsulinemia is related to increased androgen levels and it is possible that the ovaries react by making too many male hormones (androgens). This can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain (obesity), and ovulation problems as well as type 2 diabetes. In turn, obesity can increase insulin levels, causing PCOS to get worse.

Investigation

  • Transvaginal Ultrasound (specific reporting on numbers of follicles is essential)
  • FSH/LH ratio (on day 3-5 of menses) or after progesterone challenge (avoid mid-cycle day 18-20 in women with cycles less than 35 days)
  • Male hormone (androgen) profile
  • Blood sugar testing (oral glucose tolerance ) if BMI >27
  • Thyroid function tests
  • Lipid profile (cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides)

Treatment

Lifestyle change and change in diet are absolutely paramount. Prescription medication is also an option that can be explored. We recommend contacting us for treatment options as each persons case may require different varieties of treatment.

Summary

  • In polycystic ovarian syndrome presenting symptoms are highly variable
  • Not all women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are infertile
  • Treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome is highly individualised
  • Lifestyle changes and exercise are mandatory as part of the management of the condition

Conclusion

Polycystic ovaries is a very common problem in women of reproductive age that has both short-term effects upon reproductive function and longer term effects upon the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.The treatment of polycystic ovaries is highly individualised and very much dependent on the presenting symptoms and needs of the woman in terms of fertility, cycle control, weight issues, and hyperandrogenic symptoms.

Contact us

As London’s specialist gynecology clinic we recommend you contacting our team regarding polycystic ovaries by calling 020 7806 4098 or by emailing london.wellwomanclinic@hje.org.uk.

Wellwoman Clinic

The Wellwoman Clinic is a specialist centre offering assessment and treatment of gynaecological conditions. We treat women of all ages, prioritising patient needs and comfort throughout their treatment.

A patient speaking to a receptionist

Patient information

Our Hospital is renowned for providing exemplary levels of care across more than 90 services. From orthopaedics, to urology, ENT, as well as a private GP practice and our urgent care centre, Casualty First, our services are led by some of London’s leading Consultants. For more information, and to find a service suitable for your care, find out more about the services that we offer.

Make an enquiry

If you have any questions relating to treatment options or pricing information then get in touch with us by filling out one of our contact boxes or giving us a call on 020 7806 4098.

Our Appointments Team have a dedicated and caring approach to finding you the earliest appointment possible with the best specialist.

 If you are self-paying you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. You can simply refer yourself* and book an appointment.

If you have medical insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa PPP, Aviva), you will need to contact your insurer to get authorisation for any treatment and, in most cases, you will require a referral letter from your GP.

If you do not have a GP, then we have an in-house private GP practice that you can use. Alternatively we can suggest the most appropriate course of action for you to take, given your location and individual circumstance.

*Please note – for investigations such as X-rays and MRI’s a referral will be required. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

    Make an enquiry

    Latest articles

    The latest news, insights and views from St John and Elizabeth Hospital.

    Find out what we’re doing to keep you safe, read expert articles and interviews with our leading specialist Consultants, learn more about common conditions and get your questions answered.

    Remember to subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get the latest news sent straight to your inbox.

    a close up of above the pelvic region - a blog post about urology

    23rd July 2021

    What does a urologist do on the first visit?

    We look at the complex world of urology and what to expect on the first visit to a urologist.

    dr showing how to examine breasts for lumps

    16th July 2021

    How regular screenings at a breast clinic can keep you healthy

    Having screenings at a breast clinic can put your mind at rest or allow you to take early action if something abnormal is found.

    private surgeons performing a hernia operation

    09th July 2021

    Scheduled for a hernia operation? Here’s what to expect

    We look at hernias and the different types that can occur, what kind of symptoms might tell you you have a hernia and what to expect if you’re scheduled to have a hernia operation.

    A smiling nurse

    02nd July 2021

    How much does a cervical screening cost?

    Wondering how much a cervical screening costs? We examine this important procedure and…

    a close up of female skin side shoulder view

    18th June 2021

    Checking your skin at a private dermatology clinic

    We examine the functions of the skin, what can go wrong and when…

    a doctor talking to a patient at a private urgent care centre in london

    04th June 2021

    A private urgent care centre for when you need immediate attention

    There’s no need to wait around when you opt for a private urgent…

    A patient waiting at London Urology

    28th May 2021

    The 3 most common prostate problems you need to know about

    One in five men will experience prostate problems at some point in their…

    Fibroscan at The Gi Unit

    14th May 2021

    What is a Fibroscan: Five facts you may not know

    A Fibroscan is a simple, painless and non-invasive procedure used to accurately assess…

    International Nurses Day blog banner

    11th May 2021

    International Nurses Day 2021 at St John and St Elizabeth Hospital

    This year’s theme of International Nurses Day is: “A Voice to Lead –…

    Close up of woman exercising on gym machine

    23rd April 2021

    Mr Dimitrios Tsekes: How to avoid a bicep injury in the gym, and how to treat a bicep tendon tear

    Mr Dimitrios Tsekes, a leading orthopaedic and upper-limb surgeon at our Shoulder Unit,…

    12th March 2021

    Patient safety awareness: our pledge

    Patient safety is at the heart of St John & St Elizabeth Hospital’s…

    03rd March 2021

    Ask the Expert: Cataracts

    Cataracts are a common issue affecting older adults, where cloudy patches form on…