Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a fairly common condition in women of reproductive age. The ovaries are enlarged and contain many small cysts. It is associated with one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Fertility problems
  • Excessive hair especially on the face
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Acne
  • Difficulty in maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Insulin resistance

PCOS can be associated with some long-term health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Being overweight, especially carrying excess weight around your waist
  • Altered levels of fats in the blood

Symptoms of PCOS can be controlled through a combination of diet and lifestyle changes and medication. There is evidence that weight loss and physical activity can significantly improve symptoms.

Further Information

Verity is a UK charity providing support and information to women diagnosed with PCOS.

NHS Choices