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What is polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health

Polyscystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition. The actual incidence of PCOS differs depending on the scientific criteria used to define the condition. In 1990 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed criteria that identify between 6 to 10 percent of women as having PCOS. Since then, an international scientific meeting developed the Rotterdam Criteria. This later criteria doubles the incidence of PCOS. The original 1990 NIH defined criteria seem to identify the more severe cases.

Dr. Daniel A. Dumesic, MD
Fertility Specialist

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common reproductive disorder in young women. In 2005, it was estimated that in the United States alone, more than $4 billion dollars were spent in either the evaluation and treatment of PCOS. This expenditure centered on menstrual dysfunction, infertility, diabetes, abnormal hair growth and essentially not considering the risks of pregnancy complications and other costs involved with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Specific statistics for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are unknown. However, PCOS is acknowledged as the most widespread hormonal disorder among women. Although it is very common, PCOS can quickly become a serious impediment and may lead to severe complications. So, if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of PCOS, be sure to speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.