PCOS Symptoms and Treatments

Diagnosing and Treating Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Adolescents and Teens

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal problems that affect female adolescents and women. Since symptoms typically appear at puberty, gynecologists at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital are teaming up with pediatric endocrinologists at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital to diagnose the condition early in adolescents and teens at a first-of-its-kind multidisciplinary clinic in Ohio. The goal of the clinic is to help patients control symptoms of PCOS.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

PCOS occurs when hormone levels are out of balance. Diagnosis is based on the existence of the following symptoms:

  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods
  • An excess of androgen hormones, which may cause increased facial and body hair
  • Small ovarian cysts detected upon ultrasound examination

Other signs of PCOS include:

  • Acne
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes
  • Thinning hair
  • Weight gain

Treating PCOS

PCOS, though treatable, is a chronic condition that runs in families. Treatment includes a variety of medications to restore menstrual cycles, lessen insulin resistance and reduce hair growth. Patients also have access to clinical trials that offer the most advanced treatment options available.

In addition to medications, patients are encouraged to make lifestyle modifications, such as diet and exercise. Patients may choose to participate in the highly successful Healthy Kids, Health Weight™ program, which gives participants access to dietitians, exercise physiologists and other specialists who help patients adopt healthy lifestyle habits.