Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common hormone disorder in women, a leading cause of infertility, and one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in the United States.

About Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is characterized by a myriad of seemingly unrelated symptoms and may include irregular or absent periods, lack of ovulation, weight gain, acne, excessive facial hair and infertility. Even more serious, women with PCOS may be at higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and endometrial cancer, especially if PCOS is left untreated.

Surprisingly, most women with PCOS don’t even know they have it. Less than 25 percent of women with PCOS have actually been diagnosed, largely because women and their health care providers tend to look at the wide variety of symptoms individually rather than collectively. Most women are never officially diagnosed until they begin struggling with infertility and seek help in getting pregnant.

Unveiling the PCOS Mystery

Content contributions by: Dr. Jennifer Kulp Makarov and Dr. Roselynd R. Bryant. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of infertility among women. PCOS causes about 30 out of every 100 cases of female infertility. PCOS was first recorded in 1935, but its symptoms have been observed as far back as 460-377 B.C. The symptoms of PCOS include excessive hair growth and lack of menses. These symptoms can be embarrassing, but they also pose serious health risks. However, with proper treatment, the health outlook of PCOS can be controlled and managed.

Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common medical disorder that many women first learn about while seeking the cause of their infertility. PCOS affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age, making it one of the most common hormonal disorders in this age group. The exact cause of PCOS is not known. It is likely that a combination of factors leads to the development of PCOS. PCOS is thought to be a genetic trait and may run in families. Environmental factors such as the diet that one consumes are also thought to play a role in the development of PCOS.