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Pediatric Endocrinology - Polycystic ovarian syndrome

​​​​​​​​​Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)​ is a common female hormonal imbalance that manifests in multiple ovarian cysts.

Symptoms may include irregular, heavy or completely absent periods, excessive facial or body hair, acne, skin tags (growths from the skin), decreased sex drive and excess male hormones. 

In most cases, an underlying cause of PCOS is resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance is typically caused by obesity. 

Marshfield Clinic has specialists trained in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition in adolescents.

Treatments

Lifestyle changes

In some cases, diet and exercise that leads to weight loss can help support hormonal balance.

Medication

Your doctor may prescribe certain drugs to control the symptoms of PCOS.

  • Metformin, a medication for diabetes, can help control levels of androgen, insulin and blood sugar, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease while regulating the menstrual cycle.
  • Birth control pills can help regulate the menstrual period and reduce symptoms such as excess facial hair and acne.
  • ​ An androgen-lowering medicine, spironolactone, may be used in combination with birth control pills to help further reduce symptoms.​
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Diabetes: Test Your Knowledge

If you have diabetes, taking steps right away to control it will help you avoid complications that may come up later. This multiple-choice quiz will help you with important answers now. It is based on information from the American Diabetes Association, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the CDC.

1. Diabetes happens because of which of these?
2. Two of the main types of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. How many people with diabetes have type 2?
3. A certain gland or organ doesn't work right in a person who has type 1 diabetes. Which gland or organ is it?
4. Why is insulin important for your body to use blood sugar?
5. Keeping your diabetes under control early on will help you prevent complications that may come up later. People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing which of these?
6. Why are a healthy diet and regular exercise so important if you have diabetes?
7. Type 1 diabetes happens when your insulin-producing cells called beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed. What destroys them?
8. A diabetic condition can develop as a side effect of some medicines. Which of these can raise blood sugar?
9. Which ethnic groups are most likely to develop type 2 diabetes?