PCO syndrome: meaning, causes and treatment

You usually only notice that something is wrong with your hormonal balance when your cycle is no longer regular. Or have you been eagerly trying to conceive a baby for months without success? Are you also struggling with your weight on the side? If so, you may be one of the ten percent of young individuals who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). At femtis, we want to provide information and connect those affected.

What is PCOS?


Have you never heard of PCOS before? The syndrome is one of the most common hormonal disorders in Germany. The following symptoms lead young women affected by PCOS to consult a doctor:


  • Irregular menstrual cycles, such as infrequent, long periods or no bleeding at all
  • Unfulfilled desire to have children
  • Increased, predominantly male body hair (hirsutism)
  • Acne-prone skin
  • Extremely oily hair
  • Overweight
  • Elevated blood pressure


The gynecologist takes blood samples based on the suspected diagnosis of PCOS and finds increased levels of male hormones (androgens). One reason for this is the elevation of the LH hormone from the pituitary gland. This hormone triggers the production of male hormones in the ovaries. Additionally, the doctor observes significantly enlarged ovaries with many small follicular cysts in the ultrasound examination of the lower abdomen, which gives the condition its name.

Frau auf Steg vor Wasser im Schneidersitz

PCOS Symptoms

Hormonal processes in the body occur very individually. You may have different PCOS symptoms than your friend who is also affected, yet both of you suffer from the same syndrome. Scientists have established criteria that must be met for the diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome. These criteria are known as the Rotterdam criteria. If your doctor can rule out other similar hormonal disorders and you have two of the following changes, then the diagnosis of PCOS is confirmed:


  • Infrequent or no ovulation
  • Physical signs of masculinization or at least elevated male hormone levels in the blood
  • Polycystic ovaries


In addition to the typical changes in female hormone balance, the syndrome can have further effects on your metabolism. Similar to type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance can also be present in PCOS. Your cells are insensitive to the important metabolic hormone. As a result, the pancreas releases more and more insulin. An undesirable side effect in this context is the additional increase in the production of male hormones in the ovaries. Untreated, PCOS can later lead to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, this is another reason for you to talk to a doctor about your symptoms.


You may wonder why it has affected you. Have you done something wrong? Scientists are still researching PCOS. The exact cause is not yet known. However, a genetic component is possible, as well as external factors such as


  • an unhealthy diet
  • lack of exercise and overweight


may play a role. So, you are not to blame for your condition, and you can do something about it. You are not alone!


Treatment of PCOS


Your personal life situation is the focus of PCOS therapy. Which symptoms bother you the most? Would you, for example, like to conceive a baby? A first step in the right direction is a healthy lifestyle. If you struggle with overweight, nutritional counseling can help. Regular exercise is also worthwhile, as many affected individuals see an improvement in symptoms with a weight loss of five to ten percent. Weight loss alone may be enough to increase the frequency of ovulation.

In the medicine cabinet, there is the pill as a treatment for PCOS. It can regulate the menstrual cycle and your cycle length and counteract male hormones. After a few months, you will see the results on your skin and hair. You may also be able to take the medication Metformin, which helps with insulin resistance. Please discuss this with a trusted doctor.


PCOS and Fertility

With PCOS, various medications are available that can stimulate your ovaries and help the egg along. You are best advised by an experienced and sensitive gynecologist.

Have you also been diagnosed with PCOS? At PCOS Selbsthilfe Deutschland e.V., you can find other affected individuals and share your experiences.


Leidenberger, Strowitzki, Ortmann; Klinische Endokrinologie für Frauenärzte; Springer Verlag; Heidelberg 2014



Do you already know our period panties?