Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
(PCOS; Stein Leventhal Syndrome; Polyfollicular Ovarian Appearance; Hyperandrogenic Anovulation; Polycystic Ovarian Disease; PCO; PCOD)
DefinitionPolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a chronic endocrine disorder in women. With PCOS, the ovaries make the follicles, but the eggs do not mature or leave the ovary. The immature follicles can turn into fluid-filled sacs called cysts.
|Ovary and Fallopian Tube|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
CausesThe cause is not exactly known. Genes may play a role. The problem appears related to insulin resistance that creates high levels of insulin. These high insulin levels cause too much androgen from the ovaries. This prevents ovulation and leads to enlarged, polycystic ovaries. Excess androgen is also associated with:
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of PCOS:
- Family members with PCOS
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Sedentary lifestyle
SymptomsSome women may not have symptoms. In others, they may appear between the ages of 15-30 years. In women who have symptoms, PCOS may cause:
- Amenorrhea—irregular menstrual periods or no menstrual period
- Dark patches of skin on neck, groin, and arm pit
- Hair loss
- Type 2 diabetes
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome—A condition is marked by elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and body weight. Excess weight centered around the midsection is of particular concern.
- Heart disease
- Endometrial hyperplasia—A precancerous condition marked by overgrowth and thickening of uterine lining.
- Endometrial cancer
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