Polycystic ovarian cysts, or PCOS, is a disease in which a woman’s ovaries contain a number of small cysts.  This is almost always accompanied by an irregular menstrual cycle.  It is possible to have numerous cysts on your ovaries without having PCOS.  However, most women who have PCOS will have multiple cysts.

Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Cysts

The main symptom of PCOS is an irregular menstrual cycle.  All women who have polycystic ovarian cysts do not regularly ovulate, so they do not have irregular periods.  Often, women with this syndrome will have a number of small cysts in their ovaries.  There are a few other symptoms that can be present when you have PCOS.  These are:

  • Acne
  • Obesity
  • Excess Hair Growth
  • Oily Skin
  • Infertility
  • Dandruff
  • Skin Discolorations
  • High Cholesterol Level
  • Elevated Blood Pressure

All or only a few of these symptoms may be present.  PCOS varies from woman to woman.

Causes of Polycystic Ovarian Cysts

No one knows for sure the cause of PCOS.  While most women with this disease have numerous small cysts on their ovaries, the cysts are not believed to be the cause of the disease.  However, scientists have found a few correlations with other health problems.  For example, women with PCOS often have a sister or a mother with the same disease.  Also, many women with PCOS also experience problems with their insulin levels.  They also produce androgen from their ovaries.

Treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Cysts

In general, doctors will try to control PCOS through medication.   This can include birth control and hormonal therapy.  Women with PCOS tend to have problems getting pregnant due to a lack of ovulation, but a fertility specialist may be able to help.  Also, many women have had success in controlling their PCOS through natural remedies, such as diet.

In extreme cases, doctors may remove the ovaries to cure this disease.  However, you should know that in some cases ovarian tissue is left, leaving the potential for future cysts.  Also, losing your ovaries can cause problems as you age.  You will likely need to take artificial hormones to prevent some of these problems.