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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Since Jo was 14, she had suffered from ovarian cysts, which grew so large they required surgery. She had also always suffered from crippling period pains. She had been told her ovaries were otherwise normal, and despite a series of surgeries for cysts, no gynaecologist offered an explanation, nor cure, apart from the oral contraceptive.

Given her history, Jo was surprised to fall pregnant soon after stopping her contraception in 2000; however, a few months after the birth, Jo was suffering with large cysts and pain once again. She was keen to become a mother again, however, over the following two years, Jo was still in pain and not able to fall pregnant. After seeking the opinion of two other gynaecologists with no further enlightenment, a friend recommended Mr Lawrence Mascarenhas, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at London Bridge Hospital. He immediately referred her for a scan with his own trusted gynaecological team. Jo was sceptical, having had countless scans over the years and having been told that her ovaries appeared normal.

Mr Mascarenhas’ team immediately diagnosed ‘textbook’ Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – a condition that affects millions of women in the UK, causing the ovaries to develop cysts, irregularly ovulate, cause bleeding inside the abdominal cavity, and produce high levels of androgens (the ‘male’ hormones in the body). Suddenly, the years of cripplingly painful periods made sense, as did the large cysts and present difficulty in getting pregnant. Jo’s ovaries were scarred, and the eggs were not suitably matured.

Mr Mascarenhas recommended ovarian drilling surgery to allow ovulation, and a change in diet to alter Jo’s hormonal imbalance. In ovarian drilling, the ovary / ovaries are treated with heat to destroy the tissue that is producing androgens, in order to correct the hormone imbalance and restore the normal function of the ovary/ovaries. It also enables eggs to be released, where thick scar tissue from years of cyst formation has previously prevented this.

The procedure commonly takes less than one hour. Jo underwent the ovarian drilling through laparoscopy with success, and within six weeks, she had conceived her second child. She was delighted to give birth to a baby boy, Robin, in December 2006; something Jo had been led by other doctors to think would never be possible. Since this time, Jo has gone on to have another baby, which Mr Mascarenhas delivered in April 2008.

See Mr Lawrence Mascarenhas web profile here.

More information about your Gynaecology service at London Bridge Hospital here.