Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a common reproductive hormonal disorder that prevents ovulation and leads to an increased accumulation of male hormones. The ovaries become filled with small cysts, further blocking ovulation. Because of the increase in male hormones, a woman may experience excess hair growth, oily skin, acne and infertility, in addition to irregular, heavy periods. PCOS affects about 5% of women.   Additionally constant estrogen production unaccompanied by progesterone may lead to hyperplasia of the uterine lining cells, which in turn may develop into the precancerous condition known as atypical hyperplasia over a period of years.  Some women with PCOS may also be predisposed to diabetes.

Treatment Options
PCOS is successfully treated with the female hormone progesterone, which is normally produced after ovulation and produces menstrual bleeding. Birth control pills may also resolve PCOS because they supply regular and consistent amounts of both estrogen and progesterone and thereby regulate monthly periods


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Gynecological Problems: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. 2007. www.acog.org/publications/patient_education.pdf/bp121.cfm.
  2. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Patient’s Fact Sheet: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. 2005. www.asrm.org/Patients/FactSheets/PCOS.pdf.
  3. Parker WH. A Gynecologist’s Second Opinion. (c) 2003; A Plume Book; Published by the Penguin Group, New York, NY.
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Last updated on Jun 9, 2023