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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
(ND014)

Introduction


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome or functional ovarian hyperandrogenism, is a complex endocrine disorder associated with a long-term lack of ovulation (anovulation) and an excess of androgens (male sex hormones, e.g., testosterone) circulating in the blood. The disorder is characterized by the formation of cysts in the ovaries, a process related to the failure of the ovary to release an egg (ovum). In the majority of cases, the ovaries become enlarged.

PCOS afflicts up to 22% of women during their childbearing years, although only 10% of these women develop symptoms. It is one of the most frequent causes of infertility in women.

Many women with PCOS have the onset of symptoms during adolescence, and polycystic ovaries may be found by ultrasound even before the onset of puberty. Ovaries classified as polycystic have eight or more follicular cysts, 10 mm or less in size.

Decisions regarding treatment of PCOS depend on the extent of medical problems (morbidity) caused by the condition and the woman's preferences regarding fertility.

First line management includes diet modification, weight loss and stress reduction since obesity and stress alone can contribute to androgen excess. Other management is directed at the specific symptoms and complications as follows:

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The Medifocus Guide on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (POS) provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:


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