Polycystic Ovary

Definition - What does Polycystic Ovary mean?

Polycystic ovary indicates a specific change in the structure of one or both ovaries that affects approximately 20% of reproductive age women. One or both ovaries are enlarged with greater than 25 follicles present in different stages of growth, ranging from immature, to mature, to degeneration. These follicles are not true cysts and are a small collection of fluid where the egg forms before it is released. Polycystic ovaries may affect fertility by disrupting normal ovulation.

Polycystic ovaries should not be confused with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

FertilitySmarts explains Polycystic Ovary

A transvaginal ultrasound is the gold standard used to diagnose polycystic ovary. On ultrasound, multiple follicles appear around the perimeter of the ovary giving it a classic "string of pearls" appearance. Polycystic ovary is one criteon used in the diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) but requires additional signs and symptoms for a diagnosis. Polycystic ovary can be a normal anatomical change or may be caused by hormonal contraception, thyroid or other hormonal dysfunction, or obesity. In order to address any issues with fertility and promote regular ovulation, additional investigation must be performed to determine what is causing the development of multiple follicles.

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