Polcystic Ovaries (PCO)
In a normal menstrual cycle there are usually 5-14 follicles at the beginning of the cycle. At around day 14 of the cycle one follicle (leading egg) gets bigger and shortly thereafter ovulation takes place when the egg is released. The remaining eggs regress and disappear before the next cycle. At the end of this cycle there is a menstrual bleed. This cycle is repeated roughly every 4 weeks.
In a patient who has polycystic ovaries, this cycle does not take place – instead no leading egg develops and there is a build up of small immature follicles with successive cycles. Polycystic Ovaries (PCO) are very common with one in three women estimated to have PCO. Most of these women remain undiagnosed and require no treatment.
Some women with PCO may suffer symptoms including infertility, acne, increased facial hair (hirsutism) and infrequent or irregular periods. When patients are known to have a number of there symptoms it is then known as Polycstic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS). Not every patient with PCO has PCOS.
There is a wide range of treatment options and most have good success rates treating menstrual problems and infertility. Dr Carmody and your obstetrician will discuss your options with you after diagnosis.