POLYCYSTIC OVARIES VS POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME

POLYCYSTIC OVARIES VS POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME
POLYCYSTIC OVARIES VS POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME POLYCYSTIC OVARIES VS POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME

POLYCYSTIC OVARIES VS POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

Polycystic ovaries (PCO) is commonly confused with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

Understanding the difference between the two conditions is important, as having one you does not necessarily mean you have the other.

WHAT ARE POLYCYSTIC OVARIES?

Ovaries contain follicles, which are where the ova develop, and they are naturally filled with fluid.

Normally only a few follicles develop at the one time and they are scattered throughout your ovary.

PCO is diagnosed if the follicles behave abnormally. This can be characterised by a greater number of follicles developing at the same time and their positioning. Polycystic ovaries are also larger and have a slightly different appearance.

PCO does not cause pain in the pelvic area. If you are experiencing pain, this is more likely due to a cyst, which usually disappears without treatment. Surgical treatment is only required if cysts persist. PCO does not need to be treated surgically.

PCO WITHOUT PCOS?

If you have PCO, you do not necessarily have PCOS. PCO is diagnosed using an ultrasound scan image of the ovaries that appear to be polycystic (ovaries containing a high density of partially mature follicles). PCO is more common than PCOS

PCOS WITHOUT PCO

PCOS is a metabolic condition that may or may not be diagnosed with polycystic ovaries (PCO).

For example, a patient may have PCOS with the symptoms such as irregular periods or increased male hormone in a blood test, or extra hair growth or acne.

These symptoms may relate to other conditions such as thyroid or pituitary dysfunction. These may need to be excluded before a PCOS diagnosis can be made.

SIMILAR NAMES BUT DIFFERENT RISKS & TREATMENTS

The risks and medical treatments may be very different.

ISSUE

PCO

PCOS

Who Does it Affect

Up to 33% of women of childbearing age having polycystic ovaries on ultrasound and no other symptoms.

12-18% of women of reproductive age, (70% remain undiagnosed)

Type of Disorder

Mainly ultrasound diagnosis without the metabolic derangement, could be variants of normal ovaries 

A metabolic disorder with or without the polycystic appearance of the ovaries, associated with an unbalanced hormone level released by the woman’s ovaries

Effects

Dissimilar profile, but could be a dormant form of PCOS and may flare-up later depending on other contributing factors.

Developing associated short and long-term effects

Associated Risks

The dissimilar profile may on subsequent ultrasounds show normal ovaries

Diabetes, pregnancy complications (ie. gestational diabetes), cardiovascular disease, obesity and endometrial hyperplasia that can lead to endometrial cancer.

Early Symptoms

No symptoms PCO is often discovered by chance through ultrasound

Evident early in life including irregular anovulatory cycles, acne, hirsutism, weight gain, and long-term diabetes and possible endometrial hyperplasia.

Genetic Nature

May show early but mostly discovered incidentally during health checks in older women

Can show symptoms (acne, excess hair growth etc.) in your  teen years, due to metabolic disturbance

Causes

Cysts may be caused by a variety of reasons

Linked to a hormonal disorder

Hormonal Balance Disturbance

Undisturbed, with typically normal hormonal balance and continued regular ovulation

Causing high insulin release, due to slower or reduced uptake of blood sugar at the peripheral cells, thus increasing production of androgens from the ovary disturbing ovulation.

Fertility

Conception may not be difficult

Struggles with infertility and have problems falling pregnant

Miscarriage Rate

Normal

Higher

 

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

If you are experiencing any symptoms of PCOS above or are concerned about any gyneacological problem that may require further investigation, we would advise that you see your general practitioner and possibly obtain a referral to see Dr Gailani.

Dr Gailani can offer specialised help, advice on a possible diagnosis, further investigations and suitable treatment. Contact his rooms at www.omargailani.com.au