Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects millions of women. Sometimes it’s called Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
All bodies need both “male” and “female” hormones to work right, but a woman with PCOS has too much of the male kind. This creates problems with your ovaries: You might have irregular periods or no periods, and you could get cysts in a “string of pearls” pattern. PCOS is also a common cause of infertility.
The condition can’t be cured, but it can be treated.
Doctors don’t know exactly why you get it, but some researchers think high levels of insulin are at the root of the illness. If you’re overweight, your chances of developing it are greater.
Your genes play a role, too. If your mother or sister has PCOS, you’re more likely to have it. Most women are diagnosed in their 20s or 30s. But even girls as young as 11, who haven’t gotten their period yet, can have it.