PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Norton Children’s Gynecology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, is the only practice in in Kentucky, Louisville and Southern Indiana dedicated to pediatric gynecological care. Our board-certified physicians treat PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) with the sensitivity that children, teens and parents need.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a common condition that affects teen girls and women of reproductive age.
Ovaries normally produce hormones that work together to regulate menstruation. In those with PCOS, a hormone imbalance produces cysts (small fluid-filled sacs) instead of mature eggs.
PCOS may affect the menstrual cycle, hair growth, skin, weight and reproduction.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but it tends to run in families. In some patients, high insulin levels linked with weight gain may cause a hormonal imbalance resulting in PCOS.
PCOS symptoms often develop around the time of the first menstrual period. Sometimes PCOS develops later in response to substantial weight gain.
Symptoms may include:
- Irregular periods or absent periods
- Enlarged ovaries containing small cysts
- Unwanted hair growth on the face, chest, back, arms or legs
- Dark patches of skin around neck or underarms
- Thinning hair on the head
PCOS Diagnosis and Treatment
If our team suspects PCOS, we’ll ask questions about the child’s menstrual cycle, overall health and family medical history. Additional tests may include:
- Pelvic or examination of external female anatomy
- Blood work
The goal of treatment is to normalize the child’s hormone levels and periods, and to reduce unwanted symptoms (like acne and hair growth). We also want to lower the risk of future complications, such as diabetes and fertility problems.
Common treatment options include:
- Lifestyle changes – If the child is overweight, our team may recommend weight loss through a healthy diet and increased exercise.
- Medication – Our specialists may prescribe birth control pills to help regulate the child’s period. Birth control pills also can lower testosterone levels and reduce acne. We also may recommend Metformin, a diabetes medicine, to lower insulin levels.
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