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.
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