Polycystic ovary syndrome

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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female endocrine disorders affecting approximately 5%-10% of women of reproductive age (12–45 years old) and is thought to be one of the leading causes of female subfertility.[1][2][3][4]

The principal features are obesity, anovulation (resulting in irregular menstruation) or amenorrhea, acne, and excessive amounts or effects of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly among women. While the causes are unknown, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity are all strongly correlated with PCOS.

Contents

Nomenclature

Other names for this syndrome include polycystic ovarian syndrome (also PCOS), polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, Stein-Leventhal syndrome (original name, not used in modern literature), ovarian hyperthecosis and sclerocystic ovary syndrome.

Definition

Two definitions are commonly used:

The Rotterdam definition is wider, including many more patients, notably patients without androgen excess, whereas in the NIH/NICHD definition androgen excess is a prerequisite. Critics maintain that findings obtained from the study of patients with androgen excess cannot necessarily be extrapolated to patients without androgen excess.[6][7]

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