Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but early diagnosis and treatment can relieve many of your symptoms and reduce your long-term health complications.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but early diagnosis and treatment can relieve many of your symptoms and reduce your long-term health complications.

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but early diagnosis and treatment can relieve many of your symptoms and reduce your long-term health complications.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone condition related to anovulation — when ovulation does not occur on a regular basis.

Most women who experience this condition overproduce or are hypersensitive to androgens. Androgens are male hormones that help both men's and women’s organs function correctly.

Even a small change in androgen levels can cause a woman to have irregular menstrual periods, cysts in her ovaries and trouble getting pregnant — all symptoms of PCOS.

Signs You Should Get Help for PCOS

PCOS symptoms vary from woman to woman, and can include the following:

  • Infrequent, irregular or prolonged periods
  • Extra hair growth on your chest, face, abdomen or back
  • Hair thinning on your scalp
  • Acne on your face, back or both
  • Trouble getting pregnant

If you think you may have PCOS, talk to your Rush OB-GYN. Diagnosis often includes a medical history, physical exam and blood tests to measure your androgen levels. Your OB-GYN may also involve an endocrinologist, a physician who specializes in hormone problems or complications.

PCOS Treatment at Rush

At Rush, your OB-GYN or endocrinologist will determine the best treatment for you, based on your symptoms and lifestyle choices. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the long-term risks of PCOS, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Your treatment options could include one or more of the following:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier and increasing your exercise
  • Birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives
  • Medications, such as anti-testosterone medications
  • Fertility treatment if you're trying to become pregnant
  • Counseling or medication to treat anxiety or depression, which can be common with PCOS

Rush Excellence in PCOS Care

  • Nationally ranked for gynecologic care: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center's gynecology program No. 13 in the nation. So you can feel confident that when you choose Rush for PCOS care, you are in the best possible hands.
  • Comprehensive care for all symptoms: PCOS symptoms can affect many different areas of your body, from your reproductive function and skin to your metabolism and emotional health. We take a holistic approach to your care — identifying the root cause of your symptoms and understanding how they relate to each other. If you need to care from any other subspecialists, we'll work with them to comprehensively treat all of your symptoms.
  • Fertility expertise to help you conceive: PCOS is the most common cause of infertility. Rush University Medical Center has infertility specialists who work with expertise and compassion to help you conceive. We offer the full range of fertility treatment options, including medication to help you ovulate regularly — a common problem with PCOS.
  • Specializing in high-risk pregnancy care: At Rush University Medical Center and Rush Copley Medical Center, you'll have a team of maternal-fetal medicine doctors available to care for you. These providers specialize in caring for women with PCOS and other conditions that can make pregnancies more complex. Our Family Birth Centers at Rush University Medical Center and Rush Copley Medical Center also offer dedicated rooms for caring for high-risk pregnancies before, during and after delivery.