15 de February, 2024

Polycystic ovary: consequences and risks

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is more than a problem of ovaries with many cysts; It is a condition that can affect a woman's overall health. Although the name emphasizes the ovaries, its effects extend beyond, impacting everything from metabolism to mental health. Here we tell you what it is, its main consequences, and its associated risks.

What is the syndrome of ovary polycystic?

PCOS is a common hormonal condition among women of reproductive age. It is characterized by a hormonal imbalance that can lead to some symptoms, such as irregular or absent menstrual periods, excess body hair, acne, and polycystic ovaries visible on ultrasound. But what does this mean for long-term health?


The exact cause of PCOS is not yet fully known, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Insulin resistance and increased androgen production are crucial in developing this condition.


PCOS symptoms can vary, but the most common include:

  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods.
  • Hirsutism: excessive growth of facial and body hair.
  • Acne or oily skin.
  • Male pattern hair loss.
  • Difficulty losing weight or unexplained weight gain.
  • Cysts in the ovaries are detected by ultrasound.


The diagnosis of PCOS is based on the evaluation of symptoms, physical examinations, and diagnostic tests. Commonly used criteria are the Rotterdam criteria, which require at least two of the following for a diagnosis of PCOS:

  1. Irregular menstrual periods are indicative of irregular or absent ovulation.
  2. Clinical or biochemical evidence of hyperandrogenism (elevated levels of male hormones).
  3. Polycystic ovaries seen on ultrasound.


Although there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms can be managed effectively through a combination of lifestyle changes, medications, and, in some cases, surgery. Treatments may include:

  • Lifestyle changes: diet and exercise to improve insulin resistance and promote weight loss.
  • Medications to regulate menstrual periods, such as the birth control pill.
  • Medications to reduce hyperandrogenism, such as spironolactone.
  • Fertility treatments, such as clomiphene or IVF, for women who want to conceive.

Consequences of PCOS

  1. Fertility problems: One of the most well-known impacts of PCOS is difficulty conceiving. Irregular ovulation can complicate pregnancy, but with proper treatment, many women with PCOS can become pregnant.
  2. Metabolic disorders: PCOS is linked to insulin resistance, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a combination of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease.
  3. Weight problems: Many women with PCOS experience difficulties managing their weight, which in turn can exacerbate other symptoms of the syndrome.
  4. Mental health: PCOS doesn't just affect the body; It can also have a significant impact on mental health. Anxiety and depression are more common in women with PCOS, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive approach to their treatment.

Associated risks

In addition to the direct consequences, PCOS carries risks that deserve attention:

  • Elevated risk of cardiovascular disease: Metabolic alterations increase the risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease.
  • Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia: During pregnancy, women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, conditions that can affect both mother and baby.
  • Sleep apnea: This condition, where breathing temporarily stops during sleep, is more common in women with PCOS, adding another level of risk to cardiovascular health.

Although there is no cure for PCOS, the symptoms and associated risks can be successfully managed. Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and regular exercise, are essential. Medical treatments may include medications to regulate the menstrual cycle, improve fertility, and manage problems such as excess hair and acne. Psychological counseling can also be beneficial.

PCOS is more than a reproductive condition; It is a warning sign for women's comprehensive health. Recognizing its consequences and risks is the first step toward effective management. If you think you may have PCOS, seeing a specialist is crucial to getting a proper diagnosis and starting the path to optimal well-being.

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