Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Its Impact on Women’s Health

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects millions of women worldwide. This complex hormonal disorder can significantly impact women’s health, highlighting the importance of understanding it. Simply put, PCOS can result from a combination of hormonal imbalances and metabolic abnormalities. As a result, small follicles may form on the ovaries and interfere with ovulation. The condition comes with a range of symptoms that can have far-reaching effects. For those who have been diagnosed or suspect they have it, understanding PCOS and its impact on women’s health is critical. Knowing more empowers women to take an active role in managing their health.

What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder, typically affecting women of reproductive age. These hormonal imbalances involve elevated levels of androgen and lower levels of progesterone resulting in various symptoms. Insulin is the hormone that manages blood sugar, but in women with PCOS, the body is less responsive to insulin than it should be, resulting in higher glucose levels in the bloodstream.

The term polycystic ovary syndrome comes from the many small, fluid-filled sacs that can develop on the outer edge of the ovaries due to these hormonal imbalances. These cysts are actually immature eggs, called follicles, which fail to release an egg during the menstrual cycle, disrupting ovulation. Without ovulation, oestrogen and progesterone levels are also negatively affected.

What Are the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

PCOS is accompanied by a variety of symptoms which can significantly impact a woman’s health and well-being. While every woman will have a unique experience depending on the combination and severity of their symptoms, recognising these symptoms is key to early detection and effective treatment.

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

One of the most common symptoms of PCOS is irregular, heavy, or prolonged periods. Women may also have no period at all.


Increased androgen levels may result in excess facial and body hair growth (hirsutism), acne, and male-pattern baldness.

Weight Gain

Weight management may be difficult because of the insulin resistance and hormone imbalances associated with PCOS. Weight gain often occurs in the abdominal area.

Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Abnormalities

When the body is not using insulin effectively, there is a higher chance of weight gain, high blood sugar levels, and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Skin Issues

Skin tags, oily skin, acne, and dark patches of skin in the body folds such as the neck, armpits, or groin may develop.

Mood Disorders

Due to hormonal imbalances, women may experience mood swings, depression, anxiety, and irritability, negatively impacting their quality of life.

Reduced Fertility or Infertility

Women with irregular or absent ovulation may require medical assistance to conceive. Doctors may suggest ovulation induction medications or assisted reproductive technologies to improve fertility.

From mood swings and reduced fertility to weight gain and acne, the overall impact of polycystic ovary syndrome can significantly reduce a woman’s quality of life. Knowing the symptoms, however, is the first step to getting a diagnosis and starting treatment. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with a doctor today to regain control of your life.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.