PCO syndrome

The PCO syndrome (Polycystic ovary syndrome) is one of the most widely used, hormonal disorders of mature women in Germany alone about one million women are affected by. It is the most common known causes of female infertility and is therefore often diagnosed in the treatment of infertility. How exactly does the PCO syndrome manifests and how it can be treated to this wiki.

What is the PCO syndrome?

When Polycystic ovary syndrome is a dysfunction of the ovaries, which is caused by a disorder of the female hormone balance. A high concentration of male sex hormones in the body of the woman affect oocyte maturation and ovulation. The high concentration is ultimately responsible for a pathological change in the structure of the ovaries, which interferes with egg maturation and ovulation and therefore can lead to infertility of a woman. Sometimes even the menstrual period is from all over. The cause of the occurrence of hormone disorder is not fully understood until now.

How does this manifest itself PCO syndrome?

The PCO syndrome is not strictly a separate diagnostic purposes only describes a complex always the same symptoms that are collectively known as polycystic ovary syndrome. Often the decisive point for an investigation on the PCO syndrome is an infertility treatment that can result from some of the known symptoms. According to the official medical definition can be spoken of the existence of a PCO syndrome if two of the following three criteria are met.

  • Polycystic ovaries: By the excess of male hormones in the blood of women there is an intensifying cycle of disturbed hormone secretion. The male sex hormones called androgens are converted to estrogens in the female body and independent of the natural menstrual cycle of women, distributed. The cycle and with it the oocyte maturation are disturbed and leads to the formation of numerous immature follicles in the ovaries that accumulate there as a small, benign cysts.
  • Oligo- or anovulation: Due to the disturbed hormone balance and the lack of ovulation, it may happen that the female cycle is extended to 35 days or even completely absent the period. Here, the cycle described above continues, there will be distributed by the lack of menstrual bleeding more male hormones and processes are further enhanced this way. Through this cycle disorders it can ultimately lead to infertility in women.
  • hyperandrogenism: The high concentration of male sex hormones in the blood leads many women to a change in the external appearance, normally found in his expression rather in men. So it can called hirsutism come to heavy hair growth, especially on the face and chest. Even the onset of loss of scalp hair can be a symptom of PCOS.

Other signs of a hormonal disorder and possibly vorliegendes PCOS have acne, oily skin and excess weight. The latter may well be a factor for the development of symptoms, and a consequence of this. Because with increasing weight also the likelihood of insulin resistance increases. Due to this, the cells can not absorb sufficient glucose from the diet, leading to deficiency symptoms. This the body attempts by the increased production of insulin to compensate. Since insulin has a significant influence on ovarian function, they react to the excessive insulin levels with the increased secretion of androgens.

external change

By the external changes occur in many women to serious psychosocial problems, as they see themselves restricted in their quality of life and satisfaction and perceive their sexuality as impaired. It is therefore important to understand that the PCO syndrome is more than just a disorder of fertility. Also it should be noted that an illness at the PCO syndrome makes a spontaneous pregnancy unlikely though, but it does not rule.

How is the PCO syndrome diagnosed?

The gynecologist gives in a preliminary discussion with an overview of the previous medical history, to determine if any menstrual irregularities or infertility are present. Both can be indicative of the presence of a PCO syndrome. An in-depth study of the treating physician can then look for the patient after the typical symptoms of the syndrome. The following tests are always made:

  • Physical examination: In the external examination, the doctor is looking for obvious signs of polycystic ovary syndrome, such as increased hair growth, obesity and bad skin.
  • Vaginal ultrasound: On ultrasound examination can be determined if the ovaries are enlarged. show up on the ultrasound image moreover, the cysts, which are typically arranged like beads on a string. When these cysts show up on both sides, which strongly indicates a PCO syndrome.
  • Hormone tests: the hormonal levels of the patient is checked and found possibly, increased androgen or insulin levels through blood tests.

If it turns out in the hormone tests showed that the androgen is increased in the body of the woman, further investigation is usually performed for localization of androgen to rule out that the elevated levels are due to overexertion or improper function of the kidney. A glucose tolerance test, along with the review of the insulin level is carried out in many cases, especially in obese patients.

How can the PCO syndrome be treated?

Since this is not the PCO syndrome is a heterogeneous disease, the treatment of the expression of individual symptoms depends.

  • If the symptoms are caused primarily by an existing overweight, this can be easily remedied by a weight reduction. Often sufficient to reduce by two to five percent of body weight to achieve the desired goal. When removing sufferers should be careful down enforce especially the carbohydrate intake, as women with polycystic ovary syndrome can convert very well in this fat.
  • In order to suppress the androgenic symptoms, usually a birth control pill is administered with anti-androgenic component. The excessive production of male hormones is suppressed so and the cycle regulated.
  • Even if a child's desire, patients had a birth control pill is prescribed in order to normalize the cycle and the hormonal balance can be offset initially often. By reentrant, regular Abblutung a permanent thickening of the uterine lining can thus also be prevented.
  • Following a drug treatment with clomiphene usually follows. The active ingredient inhibits the estrogen production, thus promoting oocyte maturation and ovulation can trigger a synthetically. At this point, artificial insemination can be used.
  • Another way of drug treatment is the intake of diabetes agent metformin. The preparation enhances the effect of endogenous insulin and improves the uptake of glucose into the cells. The insulin overproduction and its negative impact on the function of the ovaries can be resolved that way. Combination treatment with metformin and clomiphene is most effective in many cases.
  • If the overproduction of androgens is caused by the adrenal glands, it is possible to take an anti-inflammatory drug to regulate the transfer function.
  • If other treatments do not help for correction, a part of the ovarian tissue can be destroyed by surgery and androgen thus be reduced. However, this treatment is only rarely and usually used as a last alternative.

Important: Even if the symptoms in some women are very weak and they do not feel affected by them, a lasting changes in hormone levels can lead to long-term consequences such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems, such as hypertension or heart attack, or uterine cancer. A detailed medical advice and early treatment of the symptoms are so highly recommended.

Further information

For more information about the reasons of female and male infertility you can find in our area "infertility". More that support becoming pregnant through natural methods you can find in "Getting Pregnant". Methods of fertility medicine are described in "In Vitro Fertilization" in more detail.


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