Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common female endocrine disorders affecting approximately 5%-10% of women of reproductive age (12 – 45 years old) and is thought to be one of the leading causes of female infertility.
The principle features are obesity, anovulation (resulting in irregular menstruation) or amenorrhea,hypomenorrhea, acne, and excessive amounts or effects of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones, unwanted hair growth in male distribution pattern. The symptoms and severity of the syndrome vary greatly among women. While the causes are unknown, insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity are all strongly correlated with PCOS.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms. It should be noted that most women with the condition have a number of small cysts in the ovaries. However, women may have cysts in the ovaries for a number of reasons, and it is the characteristic constellation of symptoms, rather than the presence of the cysts themselves, that is important in establishing the diagnosis of PCOS.
Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for a number of illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Because of the menstrual and hormonal irregularities, infertility is common in women with PCOS. Because of the lack of ovulation, progesterone secretion in women with PCOS is diminished, leading to long-term unopposed estrogen stimulation of the uterine lining. This situation can lead to abnormal periods, breakthrough bleeding, or prolonged uterine bleeding in some women. Unopposed estrogen stimulation of the uterus is also a risk factor for the development of endometrial hyperplasia and cancer of the endometrium (uterine lining). However, medications can be given to induce regular periods and reduce the estrogenic stimulation of the endometrium.