Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome: Description, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

polycystic ovarian syndrome icd 10

This condition is also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. It is a hormonal disorder that results in several anomalies, the most common being multiple growths in the ovaries.


Polycystic ovaries contain many small, non-cancerous, cysts or follicles.

Often the ovaries release fewer eggs than average; in some cases, egg production ceases entirely.

A healthy ovary produces one egg from a single large follicle. In the polycystic ovary, there are many small follicles, none of which develop to the point of creating an egg.

In some cases, experts could find a line of small follicles near the edge of the ovary; they called it the “string of pearls.”

Other types of ovarian cyst are common, and women may have a number of these other cysts. Technically, this is a polycystic ovary.

However, at least 12 small cysts need to be present in an ovary to count as a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Even with fewer cysts, or none at all, the disease can still get diagnosed if other symptoms and hormone changes are present.

It is important to realize that polycystic ovaries are a consequence of the overall syndrome, not the cause.

Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs when the female ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than usual. This hormonal unbalance causes several growths of cysts (fluid-filled cavities) in the ovaries.


  • Irregular Menses.
  • Infertility.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • Excess hair on the face, chest, abdomen or thighs.
  • Weight gain.
  • Acne or oily skin.
  • Thick brown or black patches.

Women with the polycystic ovarian syndrome are also at increased risk of developing diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

The polycystic ovarian syndrome is quite common in obese women or people who have a mother or sister that suffered polycystic ovarian syndrome.

To diagnose it, the doctor can do a physical examination, pelvic exam, blood test and an ultrasound.

There is no cure, but diet, exercise, and medicines can help control the symptoms.

Birth control pills help women regulate the period, reduce male hormone levels and eliminate acne. Treatments for infertility due to polycystic ovarian syndrome may include medicines, surgery or in vitro fertilization.

Polycystic ovaries tend to be somewhat larger and rounder than usual growths

Ultrasonic scans are used to examine the ovary. This way medical experts can see the multiple cysts of the polycystic ovaries condition without the need for a biopsy.

The polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common health problem that can affect both adolescents and older women.

Although its causes are not fully known, the most common consensus is that hormonal imbalances induce the condition.

Both girls and boys bodies make sex hormones but in different amounts. In girls, the ovaries produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as androgens.

These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle, as well as ovulation (the moment the egg is released). Although sometimes androgens are known as “male hormones,” all women produce them as well.

In girls with the polycystic ovarian syndrome, the ovaries produce higher amounts of androgens, and this ends up interfering with the development and release of the ovum.

Sometimes, instead of the formation and maturation of ova, cysts develop in the ovaries, which are small, fluid-filled sacs that can grow in size.

Since girls with polycystic ovarian syndrome do not ovulate or release an egg each month, it is common for them to have irregular periods or for menstruation.

Although experts identified polycystic ovary syndrome (commonly known as “Stein-Leventhal syndrome”) in the 1930s, physicians still do not know its causes with certainty.

Research suggests that it may be related to an increase in the manufacture of insulin in the body.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome are likely to produce too much insulin, which encourages their ovaries to release an excess of male hormones.

The polycystic ovarian syndrome appears to be family-related, so if you have a relative of your own, you might be inclined to develop it.

If the polycystic ovarian syndrome does not get treated correctly, it can expose the sufferer to other health issues.

Girls who suffer from it are prone to infertility, excessive body hair growth, acne, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, abnormal uterine bleeding, and cancer.

The good news is that, even though polycystic ovarian syndrome has no cure, it can get treated.

The most critical step is to diagnose it because receiving adequate treatment reduces the chances that those affected will develop serious problems.


Multiple cysts in the ovaries are the result of the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is a disorder of the hormone system. Obesity is a risk factor for this disease.

The disease is thought to be primarily caused by genetic defects since you have a much higher risk of getting the disease if it has affected your mother.

Identical twins are more likely to both have the condition than non-identical twins. Males can act as “carriers” of the genes involved in the syndrome.

Irregular menstruation is the typical symptom of polycystic ovaries. In severe cases, when the ovary produces no eggs at all, periods may stop altogether.

Other symptoms of the polycystic ovarian syndrome include infertility, excess hair growth on the face and chest, hair loss on the scalp, acne, and weight gain.

Not every sufferer has every symptom. Some woman may have pronounced hair growth, weight gain, and acne, but little change to the ovaries.

Others may have strongly affected ovaries, but few outward signs of the syndrome. Some show all the main symptoms. The disease can give rise to diabetes if left untreated.


Stopping smoking helps combat the disease, by reducing the levels of male hormones.

Weight Loss helps to combat the disease. To lose weight, you need plenty of regular exercises. A healthy diet is also essential.

Cut down on sugar and fats. Eat plenty of vegetables, lentils, oats, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread. Eat only lean meat, avoiding foods such as meat pies, sausages, and burgers.

It is essential to be aware of hidden sugars in processed foods, fruit drinks, soda, and breakfast cereals.

Alcohol is a source of calories, so don’t drink too much. Avoid crash diets and the various “miracle cures” promoted in magazines and on the internet.

  • Progesterone tablets can be used to start a period when menstruation has ceased due to the disease. It may seem significant not to have periods, but the risk of uterine cancer (cancer of the womb) increases.
  • Anti-Androgens can be used to counteract excess male hormones. They help reduce the amount of facial hair.
  • Spironolactone (Aldactone) is something women should use with caution since it could make a male fetus suffer from “feminization” should pregnancy occur.
  • Fertility Drugs, such as clomiphene, increase the chances of sufferers becoming pregnant.
  • Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling (LOD) involves using heat or a laser to destroy ovarian tissue, helping to stimulate ovulation. The treatment may allow women to become pregnant.
  • In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can be used to allow a sufferer to have children. The careful use of drugs and hormones can make the ovaries produce eggs, and IVF can get carried out.