PCOS is a common hormonal condition that affects a woman’s ovaries and how they work

Campaign to publicise little-known condition affecting one in ten women

Claire Roberts
Authored by Claire Roberts
Posted: Monday, September 20, 2021 - 16:32

A  common condition that affects one in ten women of child-bearing age and can lead to difficulties falling pregnant - polycystic ovary syndrome - is under the spotlight this month  with fertility experts in the South West and Wales taking part in  PCOS Awareness Month  throughout September in a bid to  increase understanding of the condition. 

Oli O’Donovan, consultant  gynaecologist  with Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM), said: “PCOS is a common hormonal condition that affects  a woman’s  ovaries and how they work, but it’s poorly understood and is a difficult disease to diagnose.   

“Many women have the condition without  realising, but some women have difficulty falling pregnant and there is an increased risk of health problems later in life. It can take a long time to get diagnosed through the usual channels.

“If a woman wants a baby and is  not falling  pregnant  naturally, investigating whether she may have PCOS is always one of the first things we consider. 

“When a woman  is  affected  it means that  tiny cysts  develop around  the edges  of her ovaries, and we can see these on an  ultrasound  scan at the clinic.  

“While the cysts are harmless in  themselves  the condition can prevent  the normal monthly  release of eggs, meaning  fertilisation  is impossible.  A third of sufferers do not have regular periods. 

“PCOS can affect any  woman  but is more likely to affect  those  who  have a family history  with  the condition, or who are very overweight.  

“The weight situation is a bit of a vicious circle, because if you have the hormone imbalance that causes PCOS you may find it hard to keep you weight healthy.

“However, if excessive  weight is at the root of the problem, the good news is that a loss of just 5%, plus sticking to a healthy low-carb diet and moderate exercise, can sometimes be all that is needed to restart regular periods  and allow a woman to  be come  pregnant naturally.”  

An  acknowledged  expert in  fertility  diagnosis  including ultrasound, Oli O’Donovan is available to provide consultations in person or via telephone or video link. For further  information about the fertility services offered at BCRM go to www.fertilitybristol.com , email contact@bcrm.clinic or call 0117 4146888.   

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