Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Dr. Surani

By: Dr. Salim Surani

26% of women in their reproductive age are affected by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This syndrome is actually a hormone imbalance. Normally with female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and the male hormone, androgen, what happens is there is an increase in the androgen and the other hormone level goes down. That causes a lot of challenges. Challenges with fertility, irregular periods, and an increase in insulin resistance so that creates a big challenge.

I published a paper five years ago with the link between polycystic ovary disease and sleep apnea, which Harvard and Duke use as a guideline for screening those patients.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects more than 200,000 women a year.

Obesity is a key factor in this disease, if you actually lose 5-10% of the weight it helps with polycystic ovary syndrome. The main symptom most of the time is an irregular period. Another thing can be the metabolic syndrome, where your insulin resistance has increased and your sugar levels go up. The other challenge can be with an excess of male hormones, this can lead to excess body hair and is called hirsutism.

It is very simple to diagnose. You have three things: You have a history of an irregular period, then you can do a simple blood test and you can check the hormone level and that will tell you. You can also do a pelvic exam or an ultrasound and that will show multiple cysts in the ovary.

There are things you can do to try and cure this. You can lose 5-10% of your weight, you can try a birth control pill that will help with hormones, or there are some medications to assist as well.


Dr. Salim Surani is the Medical Director of Critical Care Services at Christus Spohn Hospital-Corpus Christi. He has authored more than 150 articles in the peer review journals and has written several books and book chapters. He has also served as the reviewer for more than 20 peer review journals. Dr. Surani’s area of interests includes, but are not limited to Critical Care, Asthma, COPD, Sleep Medicine, Quality Assurance programs and pulmonary infections.

Dr. Salim Surani founded Pulmonary Associates of Corpus Christi over ten years ago on the Coastal Bend.
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