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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. One result is that cysts (fluid-filled sacs) develop on the ovaries. Women who are obese are more likely to have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Infertility
  • Pelvic pain
  • Excess hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, thumbs, or toes
  • Baldness or thinning hair
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • Patches of thickened dark brown or black skin

Women with PCOS are at higher risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Medicines can help control the symptoms. Birth control pills help women have normal periods, reduce male hormone levels, and clear acne. Other medicines can reduce hair growth and control blood pressure and cholesterol. There is no cure.

NIH: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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