Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a female hormonal imbalance commonly observed during a woman’s reproductive years. The ovaries appear enlarged in most cases with the presence of multiple cysts on the exterior. Alternative names of this condition are polycystic ovaries, polycystic ovary disease, Stein-Leventhal syndrome and polyfollicular ovarian disease.


PCOS is estimated to affect 5 – 10 % of premenopausal women.  Almost 5 million women in the US may have PCOS. The symptoms could appear as early as 11 years of age.


PCOS signs may appear in young adolescents, following the start of menstruation. Typical symptoms include:


A physical examination of the pelvic region may reveal swollen ovaries. PCOS can be visualized by the ultrasound examination of the ovaries. Most cases need to be further confirmed by the presences of additional symptoms, such as menstrual changes and excessive body hair.

Blood tests for hormone levels of estrogen, FSH, LH and androgen may be performed to diagnose PCOS. Other tests for PCOS include fasting glucose, lipid levels, thyroid functions and prolactin levels.


Although the exact cause of PCOS is unclear, prompt detection and treatment are essential to prevent complications including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, sleep apnea, abnormal uterine bleeding and endometrial cancer.

Hormonal changes in estrogen, progesterone and androgen levels in women are generally found in PCOS. The pathogenesis of PCOS is also related to the following:


The prognosis of PCOS patients is generally positive after proper treatment. Women can successfully get pregnant, although the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes during pregnancy is higher than normal.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What They Never Told You About Female Fertility

Numerous factors play a role in female fertility. If you’re struggling to become pregnant, the problem could relate to your age, your partner, the amount of exercise you’re getting, or none of the above. Learn the facts about female infertility.

How We Diagnose Infertility

Often, the first question someone struggling with infertility asks is: Why? Answering that is the top priority for your fertility specialist as well. Learn why diagnosing infertility is the first step toward achieving your dream.

Helping a Loved One Through Fertility Issues

Are you hesitant to reach out to a friend or family member undergoing fertility treatments because you aren’t sure what to say? We discuss the ways you can support those who are experiencing the emotional highs and lows of infertility.

The Importance of Tests Before Tubal Reversal

Reversing the effects of a tubal ligation is an increasingly viable option for many women seeking to have a child. Our expert explains the procedure and the need for a fertility evaluation and other tests in advance of the surgery.

What a Semen Analysis Can Tell Us

When you’re concerned about fertility, the process of finding out what is causing it can seem overwhelming. Our team is committed to breaking it down for you in easily understood steps. Here’s what you need to know about the semen analysis.