Polycystic ovary syndrome

Alternative Names

Polycystic ovaries; Polycystic ovary disease; Stein-Leventhal syndrome; Polyfollicular ovarian disease

Definition of Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman’s female sex hormones. This hormone imbalance may cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small , trouble getting pregnant, and other problems.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Female sex hormones include estrogen and progesterone, as well as hormones called androgens. Androgens, often called “male hormones,” are also present in women, but in different amounts.

Symptoms

Changes in the menstrual cycle:

Signs and tests

During a pelvic examination, the health care provider may note an enlarged clitoris (very rare finding) and enlarged ovaries.

Treatment

Losing weight (which can be difficult) has been shown to help with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Even a weight loss of 5% of total body weight has been shown to help with the imbalance of hormones and also with infertility.

Expectations (prognosis)

Women who have this condition can get pregnant with the right surgical or medical treatments. Pregnancies are usually normal.

Review

Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Redmond,Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/31/2010

Endocrine glands
Pelvic laparoscopy
Female reproductive anatomy
Stein-Leventhal syndrome
Uterus
Follicle development

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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