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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Clinic (PCOS) - referrals

This clinic, run by the University of Oxford Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, offers advice on the management of menstrual irregularity and related problems associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) including the metabolic syndrome and fertility (although for fertility treatment please refer to Fertility Clinic).

Around 20 percent of women will have ovaries that on ultrasound have the appearance of being polycystic. Of these, around 75 percent will not have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Diagnosis of PCOS requires at least two of the following:

  • irregular ovulation and therefore irregular, usually infrequent, periods
  • abnormal hormone levels, especially raised testosterone levels; this can cause excess body hair or balding
  • polycystic ovaries on ultrasound scan.

Having very infrequent periods is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer of the endometrium, and so treatment to regulate the cycle, such as with the combined oral contraceptive pill, or cyclical progesterone, is recommended.

Most problems with PCOS can be managed in General Practice. Specialist advice may be needed for women with difficulty conceiving or who have had trouble regulating their cycle with the usual treatments, such as the combined oral contraceptive pill.

Many women with PCOS also have metabolic abnormalities and an increased risk of developing diabetes. Good nutrition, maintaining a healthy weight and getting lots of exercise are crucial to the management of cycle regulation and fertility of women with PCOS.

PCOS Clinic runs on Thursday mornings on Level 1 of the Women's Centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital.