What do we mean by Polycystic Ovaries?
Ans: Poly means many (multiple) and cysts are fluid-filled areas. Thus, a woman with polycystic ovaries will have a higher number of follicles (immature eggs which look like small cysts) in her ovaries. Because of more follicles growing in her ovaries, these appear larger in size on ultrasound. It is like to accommodate more number of students in a classroom, we need a larger room.
Polycystic ovaries are very common affecting 20 in 100 (20%) of women.
Having polycystic looking ovaries on ultrasound does not mean you have a polycystic ovary syndrome. Only around 6 or 7 in 100 (6 - 7%) of women with polycystic ovaries have PCOS and we need to look at other symptoms and hormones to diagnose this condition.