Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

an expert rundown of definition, symptoms, and treatment options

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how the ovaries of people assigned female at birth work.

There are 3 typical features of PCOS, as shown below.
A person diagnosed with PCOS has at least 2 of these features:
- irregular periods
-excess androgen
-polycystic ovaries

Symptoms and signs of PCOS

- Irregular periods or no periods at al
- Difficulty getting pregnant (due to irregular ovulation or no ovulation)
- Excess hair growth
- Acne and skin problems
- Hair loss or hair thinning from the head
- Weight gain

While not considered a key symptom of PCOS, PCOS can be associated with painful sex.

Living with PCOS often has significant physical and emotional impacts, including body-image, greatly affecting a person's quality of life.

Treatment options

While there's no cure for PCOS, the symptoms can be treated and made more manageable.
Treatments for this condition vary from person to person and typically include medications, lifestyle changes, surgery, pelvic floor physiotherapy and psychological support.

A multidisciplinary approach that includes both physical and mental aspects of living with this condition (biopsychosocial approach) is the most effective as it targets all areas of your health .

Pelvic floor Physiotherapy and Psychology

Physiotherapy can help with the pelvic pain associated with PCOS by improving pelvic floor function, while psychological treatments can help to manage the emotional and psychological impact of the condition.

Femspace offer professionally guided self-help pelvic floor physiotherapy, psychological support and sex and relationship therapy.

In conclusion

PCOS is a complex and often misunderstood condition, but recognising and treating it is crucial for those who may be struggling with its symptoms. People with PCOS can benefit from a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, followed by a tailored treatment plan that may include medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

With the right support, people with PCOS can significantly improve their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.

Hannah Barned

Reviewed by Dr Claudia Chisari