Despite its name, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is actually a condition characterised by an excess production of the male sex hormone causing a hormone imbalance. As a result of this, multiple cysts can form on the ovaries, but someone can suffer from PCOS without getting cysts. Esteemed London-based women’s health expert and consultant gynaecologist, Mr Mahantesh Karoshi discusses this further.
Do normal ovaries have cysts?
Ovaries contain hundreds of thousands of follicles, which are fluid-filled sacs inside the ovary. Each follicle has the potential to release a single egg and when it reaches a large enough size to release a mature egg, it becomes a dominant follicle. Ovulation occurs when the follicle bursts, releasing the matured egg for fertilisation. This follicle can be mistaken for a cyst, but in fact, it is a sign of a healthy and normal ovary.
What causes cysts in women with PCOS?
There is a complex biochemical situation that exists in ovaries with PCOS and as a result, the follicles don’t develop fully, meaning ovulation doesn’t occur. If a follicle doesn’t burst, a cyst can form from this follicle. Women with PCOS often have a collection of cysts on their ovaries.
Does PCOS affect fertility?
Women with PCOS often have difficulties conceiving due to the lack of ovulation.
Can I have polycystic ovaries but not PCOS?
Women can have polycystic ovaries, that appear on an ultrasound scan, without having PCOS. PCOS is a complex syndrome that polycystic ovaries can be a symptom of. In women who haven’t experienced any symptoms of PCOS, polycystic ovaries have been found on ovaries. This means they have many small cysts, usually less than 1 centimetre in size, located just below the surface layer of the ovary. When looked at via ultrasound these cysts resemble a string of pearls in appearance. Ovaries can, as a result, be enlarged.
If you are interested in booking a consultation with Mr Mahantesh Karoshi, you can do so via his Top Doctors profile today.