Q:

What factors increase your chances of developing polycystic ovary syndrome?

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Quick Answer

Conditions such as excess weight, excess insulin, low-grade inflammation and heredity may be contributing factors in the development of polycystic ovary syndrome, says Mayo Clinic. However, the exact cause of the condition is unknown.

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Full Answer

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome, a common endocrine system disorder, have been shown in research to have low-grade inflammation, a condition in which the body's white blood cells produce substances to fight infection, explains Mayo Clinic. Low-grade inflammation stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, a male hormone that can cause body hair, acne and male-pattern baldness. Excess insulin may also stimulate the ovaries to produce androgens. Androgens can interfere with the ovaries' ability to ovulate. Infertility is among the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Obesity is a leading factor in the complications associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, states Mayo Clinic. Managing weight is an important part of controlling the negative effects of the condition. Losing weight can lower both androgen and insulin levels and could restore the ovaries' ability to ovulate. A low-fat diet and high-activity lifestyle are key to managing the symptoms of the condition.

Heredity may be associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, and women who have a mother or sister with the condition are more likely to have it themselves, says the Office on Women's Health.

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