Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Program

Welcome to the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Program located within the Fish Center for Women's Health, a multi-specialty practice at the Brigham and Women’s Health Care Center at 850 Boylston Street in Chestnut Hill, MA.

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a set of symptoms caused by a problem with a woman’s hormones. It affects the small organs that store a woman’s eggs (ovaries). But it can also affect the rest of the body. PCOS is a very common condition in women of childbearing age. In some cases, it can lead to serious health issues if not treated.

Ovulation happens when a mature egg is released from an ovary. This happens so it can be fertilized by a male sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, it is sent out of the body during your period.

In some cases, a woman doesn’t make enough of the hormones needed to ovulate. When ovulation doesn’t happen, the ovaries can develop many small fluid-filled sacs (cysts). These cysts make hormones called androgens. Androgens are a type of male hormone, but women normally have them in smaller amounts. Women with PCOS often have high levels of androgens. This can cause more problems with a woman’s menstrual cycle. And it can cause many of the symptoms of PCOS.

Treatment for PCOS is often done with medicine and life-style changes such as dietary changes. This can’t cure PCOS, but it helps reduce symptoms and prevent some health problems. Learn more.

Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Video

Margo S. Hudson, MD, Co-director, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Program in the Fish Center for Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, describes causes, symptoms and treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome. Transcript available.

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