Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition characterized by a hormonal imbalance resulting in irregular or absent menstrual periods, acne, and/or increased facial/body hair growth. Individuals with PCOS are also at increased risk for metabolic abnormalities including Type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidemia. PCOS is diagnosed based on clinical presentation, laboratory evaluation, and pelvic ultrasound, as needed. 

How we care for PCOS

The Reproductive Endocrinology and PCOS Program specializes in the care of patients with PCOS. A multidisciplinary approach is offered, with nutrition and mental health as needed, to support patients with PCOS. Clinicians trained in Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine are experts in the clinical care of PCOS.

Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

Patients with PCOS typically present with menstrual problems, acne, and/or bothersome facial/body hair growth.

What causes PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal imbalance in which the signals from the brain to the ovaries are not occurring as they should, so a monthly period does not typically occur. Patients with PCOS tend to make extra hormones called androgens, which can contribute to excess facial/body hair growth and acne.

Diagnosis & Treatment

How is PCOS diagnosed?

PCOS is diagnosed by taking a careful history, performing a physical examination, obtaining laboratory testing, and sometimes having a trans-abdominal pelvic US. An internal pelvic examination is not required.

What are the treatment options for PCOS?

PCOS treatment is individualized to address a patient's primary concerns. Periods can be regulated and acne and hair growth can be reduced with hormonal therapies. The metabolic concerns that may be present are addressed with dietary and exercise counselling and sometimes with a medication called metformin. The goal of treatment is to optimize patient physical and mental health and well being.