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What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome and how is it treated?

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Quick Answer

The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome can include excess facial hair, irregular periods, excess body hair, acne and male-pattern baldness, Mayo Clinic says. Except for irregular periods, these symptoms are due to an excess of androgens. Treatments for polycystic ovary syndrome include medications to aid ovulation, such as metformin and clomiphene, regulate the menstrual cycle, such as birth control pills, and reduce excessive hair growth, such as spironolactone.

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Full Answer

Polycystic ovary syndrome is an endocrine condition that can cause the ovaries to enlarge and form cysts filled with fluid surrounding the eggs, explains Mayo Clinic. The cysts are also known as follicles. The condition usually begins shortly after a woman begins having her period, but it can appear later after significant weight gain. Possible causes for polycystic ovary syndrome include low-grade inflammation, excess insulin and heredity.

Polycystic ovary syndrome increases the risks of hypertension, fatty liver, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer and Type 2 diabetes, Mayo Clinic says. Many of these increased risks and others are increased further when the syndrome is combined with obesity. Even minor decreases in weight can improve both these risks and polycystic ovary syndrome itself, so doctors often include a program of mild exercise and calorie restriction as part of treatment.

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