Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome in Adolescent Girls

Q) What exactly is PCOS ?
A) PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a condition which results due an imbalance in hormones like Testosterone, LH, FSH which can lead to a number of symptoms which can be troubling. It is called polycystic because the ovaries develop many small cysts in the ovary. There is also insulin resistance in PCOS which leads to weight and aggravates the androgen effects. The exact cause is not always clear.

Q) What are the symptoms of PCOS?
A) PCOS can result in many symptoms which may be commonly seen in girls, so the
- Acne
- Excessive Facial Hair, including hair on chest and abdomen (Hirsutism)
- Irregular Periods (scanty periods, missed periods)
- Weight gain and difficulty to lose weight
- Cysts in the Ovary

Q) Can thin girls also get PCOS ?
A) Yes thin girls may also have PCOS and needs to be timely diagnosed. Although the 75-80 % of girl with PCOS are overweight, girls with normal weight may present with the same complaints.

Q) Do adolescents also have PCOS like adults ?
A) Adolescent girls may also have PCOS but they need to be correctly evaluated as the early changes due to start of periods like acne, irregular periods can be similar to the symptoms of PCOS or maybe even overlapping.
Hence a correct diagnosis should be made before labelling any girl with PCOS

Q) How do you diagnose PCOS ?
A) It is diagnosed by blood tests to see the androgen levels in the body and coupled with an Ultrasound of the Ovary to see the size of the ovary and for the number of cysts.

Q) Can it be managed effectively with medicines ?
A) Yes, PCOS can be effectively managed with medication. However the management involves both medicines and lifestyle intervention. The medicines help to regularise periods, improve acne and facial hair. The medication is decided based on the test results.