You may not have heard of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome before but it is fairly common in Nigeria. There have been at least 100,000 diagnosed cases and those are just the ones we know of. 
So, what exactly is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
It is a hormonal disorder that happens around puberty in which a woman of reproductive age produces an excess amount of male hormones like androgen. This often leads to irregular menstrual periods and difficulty in conception. However, if it is diagnosed early, it can be managed (there is no cure) and other complications such as heart disease, diabetes, etc. can be handled. 
Other common symptoms of the condition include:
Irregular periods that can be less than 9 in a whole year. 
Excess androgen that manifests as facial hair, male-patterned baldness, and severe       acne. 
Polycystic ovaries, meaning that ovaries are enlarged and contain follicles around the eggs.
 Although the exact cause is not known, some things have been linked to the possibility of developing PCOS such as heredity and excess insulin. 
It is quite unfortunate to note that there are certain complications that have been linked to PCOS. They include miscarriages, difficulty with getting pregnant, infertility, depression, anxiety, endometrial cancer, etc. 
This is why once you notice that you (or your teenager) have/ has irregular periods, you should visit a doctor. Even if the diagnosis comes back positive, it is not the end of the world. It can be treated and there are women with the syndrome have gone on to have kids.

Dr Eunice Johnson

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