Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder in which the ovaries produce excessive amounts of male hormones and develop many small cysts. PCOS is caused by hormonal imbalances that prevent ovulation. Your body produces too much of some hormones and not enough of others. Women with PCOS usually have low levels of Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), yet high levels of Luteinizing Hormone (LH).
FSH is the hormone that’s responsible for stimulating the growth of follicles in the ovaries that contain maturing eggs. If you lack FSH for a long time, your follicles will not mature and release their eggs, resulting in infertility. Instead, the immature follicles in your ovaries develop into small cysts.
High levels of LH cause your body to produce too much estrogen and androgens (male hormones) — testosterone and DHEAS (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate). High levels of estrogen can cause the endometrial tissue in your uterus to get very thick, which can lead to heavy and/or irregular periods. If your androgen levels are high for a long time, you may develop acne and/or hair on your face, and you may experience hair loss.