Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Common Name(s)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, Stein-Leventhal syndrome

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition caused by the hormone levels in a woman being unbalanced. The ovaries of women with PCOS produce higher than normal levels of male hormones (androgens). Insulin levels (the hormone which helps our cells use sugar and starches for energy) are also higher and may be linked to PCOS. PCOS is the leading cause of infertility. Between 1 in 10 to 20 women of childbearing age are affected by PCOS. PCOS may develop in girls as young as 10 years old.

Symptoms of PCOS may include the growth of small ovarian cysts (fluid filled sacs), acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain and problems with ovulation. Other symptoms include infrequent or absent periods, infertility, male patterned baldness, pelvic pain, sleep apnea, anxiety or depression. Symptoms and severity vary. Having a female relative with diabetes or PCOS may increase your risk.

Diagnosis of PCOS is made through a medical history, physical exam, blood tests and a vaginal ultrasound. Ovarian cysts and enlarged ovaries may be seen in an ultrasound. The lining of the uterus (endometrium) may be thicker in women with PCOS.

The cause of PCOS is unknown. PCOS may lead to infertility and increased risk of miscarriage, premature labor, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes. PCOS also increases a woman’s risk for uterine cancer and diabetes later in life. High blood pressure and cholesterol levels can also be a result of PCOS and may lead to heart problems. Treatment for PCOS may include dietary changes, birth control pills, diabetes medication, fertility medications, surgery and androgen-reducing medication. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, talk to your obstetrician or midwife as well as endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in treating hormonal conditions) about the most current treatment options. Support groups are a good source of information and can connect you with other women who are living with PCOS.

Source: Advocacy organizations associated with the condition.

 

Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Polycystic ovarian syndrome" for support, advocacy or research.

HealthyWomen

HealthyWomen (HW) is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. Our core mission is to educate, inform and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families. For more than 20 years, millions of women have been coming to HW for answers to their most pressing and personal health care questions. Through our wide array of online and print publications, HW provides health information that is original, objective, reviewed by medical experts and reflective of the advances in evidence-based health research.

Last Updated: 1 Jul 2015

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General Support Organizations

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How do you compare to others with this condition?

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Advocacy and Support Organizations

 

Condition Specific Organizations

Following organizations serve the condition "Polycystic ovarian syndrome" for support, advocacy or research.

HealthyWomen

HealthyWomen (HW) is the nation's leading independent health information source for women. Our core mission is to educate, inform and empower women to make smart health choices for themselves and their families. For more than 20 years, millions of women have been coming to HW for answers to their most pressing and personal health care questions. Through our wide array of online and print publications, HW provides health information that is original, objective, reviewed by medical experts and reflective of the advances in evidence-based health research.

http://www.healthywomen.org

Last Updated: 1 Jul 2015

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General Support Organizations

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Scientific Literature

Articles from the PubMed Database

Research articles describe the outcome of a single study. They are the published results of original research.
The terms "Polycystic ovarian syndrome" returned 184 free, full-text research articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Follicular fluid placental growth factor is increased in polycystic ovarian syndrome: correlation with ovarian stimulation.
 

Author(s): Reshef Tal, David B Seifer, Richard V Grazi, Henry E Malter

Journal:

 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by increased ovarian angiogenesis and vascularity. Accumulating evidence indicates that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is increased in PCOS and may play an important role in these vascular changes and the pathogenesis ...

Last Updated: 29 Aug 2014

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Vitamin B12 deficiency in an adolescent girl with polycystic ovarian syndrome.
 

Author(s): Evgenia Gourgari, Aikaterini A Nella, Maya Lodish, Constantine A Stratakis, Jack A Yanovski

Journal: Eur. J. Obstet. Gynecol. Reprod. Biol.. 2014 Aug;179():254.

 

Last Updated: 21 Jul 2014

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome: a review.
 

Author(s): Nina Madnani, Kaleem Khan, Phulrenu Chauhan,

Journal: Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. ;80(2):154-5.

 

Last Updated: 1 Apr 2014

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Reviews from the PubMed Database

Review articles summarize what is currently known about a disease. They discuss research previously published by others.
The terms "Polycystic ovarian syndrome" returned 24 free, full-text review articles on human participants. First 3 results:

Risk of endometrial, ovarian and breast cancer in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
 

Author(s): John A Barry, Mallika M Azizia, Paul J Hardiman

Journal: Hum. Reprod. Update. ;20(5):748-58.

 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition affecting ∼8% of women. The objective of the present study was to quantify separately the risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer in women with PCOS compared with non-PCOS controls, and quantify separately ...

Last Updated: 15 Aug 2014

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Definition and significance of polycystic ovarian morphology: a task force report from the Androgen Excess and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Society.
 

Author(s): Didier Dewailly, Marla E Lujan, Enrico Carmina, Marcelle I Cedars, Joop Laven, Robert J Norman, Héctor F Escobar-Morreale

Journal: Hum. Reprod. Update. ;20(3):334-52.

 

BACKGROUND The diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) relies on clinical, biological and morphological criteria. With the advent of ultrasonography, follicle excess has become the main aspect of polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM). Since 2003, most investigators have used ...

Last Updated: 14 Apr 2014

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome.
 

Author(s): Nina Madnani, Kaleem Khan, Phulrenu Chauhan, Girish Parmar

Journal: Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. ;79(3):310-21.

 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a "multispeciality" disorder suspected in patients with irregular menses and clinical signs of hyperandrogenism such as acne, seborrhoea, hirsutism, irregular menses, infertility, and alopecia. Recently, PCOS has been associated with the metabolic ...

Last Updated: 26 Apr 2013

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Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

There are currently no related results available in GeneReviews.

 
 
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Clinical Trial Information This information is provided by ClinicalTrials.gov

Paleo Versus Healthy ADA Diets for Treatment of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

 

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2015

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The Genetics of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
 

Status: Recruiting

Condition Summary: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

 

Last Updated: 26 Sep 2011

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