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Women who can conceive with PCOS have a higher incidence of miscarriage, gestational diabetes , pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, preeclampsia , and premature delivery. Currently, there is no known cause of PCOS. However, there are associations with excess insulin , low-grade inflammation , and genetics. PCOS is thought to have a genetic component.


  1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): American Diabetes Association®.
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This family link is the main risk factor. Sugar is the body's primary source of energy, and it is regulated in the body by insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas. A person with insulin resistance is unable to use insulin efficiently. This causes the pancreas to go into overdrive secreting additional insulin to meet the body's glucose needs.

PCOS Challenge - The National Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association

Excess insulin is thought to affect a woman's ability to ovulate because of its effect on androgen production. Research has shown that women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens. Also, there is an increased risk of endometrial cancer , gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, heart attacks , and miscarriage.

No single test can determine the presence of PCOS, but a doctor can diagnose the condition through medical history, a physical exam that includes a pelvic exam, and blood tests to measure hormone, cholesterol, and glucose levels.

Female Gender Scheme is Disturbed by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Qualitative Study From Iran

An ultrasound may be used to look at the uterus and ovaries. This will depend on whether the individual wants to become pregnant and aims to reduce the risk of secondary medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Fertility medications: If pregnancy is desired, these include the use of clomiphene Clomid , a combination of clomiphene and metformin, or injectable gonadotropins, such as follicle-stimulating hormone FSH and luteinizing hormone LH medications.

In certain situations, letrozole Femara may be recommended. Fertility treatments: These include in-vitro fertilization IVF or inseminations. Excessive hair growth may be reduced with the drug spironolactone Aldactone or eflornithine Vaniqa. Finasteride Propecia may also be recommended, but it should not be handled by women who may become pregnant. Anyone using spironolactone should use birth control, due to the risk of birth defects if taken while pregnant.

Breast-feeding on this medication is not recommended. Other possible options to manage hair growth is laser hair removal, electrolysis, hormonal treatments, or vitamin and mineral use.

Nutrition and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

There is no cure for PCOS, but some home and lifestyle interventions can make a difference and relieve some symptoms. There may be an increased risk of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and preterm births. After delivery, there is an increased risk of the newborn being placed in the neonatal intensive care unit or death before, during, or soon after birth. These complications are more common in multiple births, for example, twins or triplets. Symptoms such as excessive hair growth and male pattern baldness can last beyond menopause and may become worse. With aging also comes the risk of the secondary health complications related to PCOS, including heart disease.

The causes of PCOS are unclear, but early diagnosis can help relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Anyone who may have symptoms of PCOS should see a doctor. Article last updated by Yvette Brazier on Fri 5 January All references are available in the References tab.

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How many people are affected or at risk of PCOS? PCOS and diabetes, heart disease, stroke. Polycystic ovary syndrome. What is PCOS? MediLexicon, Intl.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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  • Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. The condition interferes with normal reproduction. Symptoms include irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, and obesity. Appointments What is polycystic ovary syndrome? What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?