Polycystic ovarian syndrome

What is polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a very common disorder in women aged from adolescence to menopause. PCOS is not the same thing in every woman.

The cause of PCOS is not well understood, but it is likely multiple elements lead to its development. There is most certainly an associated genetic component.


Many women may exhibit a variety of symptoms, but not all of the symptoms. Common symptoms include irregular or absent periods, excess hair (such as on the chin, upper arms, abdomen or chest). Many women with PCOS may exhibit weight gain or have difficulty falling pregnant. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and more commonly suffer anxiety and depression.


Treatment of PCOS depends on what symptoms are causing problems for you. PCOS does not need treatment in its own right, but if you have it, you should have a heightened awareness due to medical associations such as sub fertility and diabetes.

How we can help

If you'd think you may have this condition and would like to talk to us about how we can help, please feel free to contact us. You can also request an appointment online.

Further reading


Further information


Bleeding between periods

This is quite common, and if you experience just a single episode you need not be overly concerned. Common causes are oral contraceptives and other hormonal therapies. Persistent bleeding may be caused by genital tract infections, polyps within the uterus or cervix, or possibly cervical cancer. Find out more


As many as 1 in 6 couples in New Zealand have difficulty falling pregnant. Some causes of infertility in men are issues with sperm quantity and quality. Causes of infertility in women include problems with ovulation, endometriosis, tubal blockage, and issues with egg numbers or quality. Find out more

Irregular or unscheduled bleeding

There are a number of causes of irregular bleeding, and our investigations will depend a bit on your age and fertility plans. Common causes can include endometriosis, infection, instability of the lining of the womb, ovarian cysts, perimenopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, polyps, and early pregnancy. Find out more

Prolonged periods

If your period lasts more than 7 days, you have prolonged bleeding. The term is often used synonymously with menorrhogia (heavy bleeding), but is more descriptive of periods that go on for an annoyingly long time. Find out more