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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Also called: PCOS, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome

Summary

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) happens when a woman's ovaries or adrenal glands produce more male hormones than normal. PCOS causes cysts (fluid-filled sacs) to grow on the ovaries. Symptoms include

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, or thighs
  • Weight gain
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Patches of thickened skin

Women with PCOS are at higher risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

PCOS is more common in women who have obesity, or have a mother or sister with PCOS. To diagnose PCOS, your health care provider may do a physical exam, pelvic exam, blood tests, and an ultrasound.

There is no cure, but diet, exercise, and medicines can help control the symptoms. Birth control pills help women have normal periods, reduce male hormone levels, and clear acne. Treatments for infertility caused by PCOS may include medicines, surgery, and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Start Here

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in
  • (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
  • (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) - PDF

Symptoms

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Diagnosis and Tests

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Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in

Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in
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  • (American Society for Reproductive Medicine)
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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) Also in
  • (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Also in

Teenagers

  • (Children's Hospital Boston)
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  • (Nemours Foundation)
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Patient Handouts

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