Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Alternate Names : Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, Polycystic Ovarian Disorder, Hyperandrogenic Chronic Anovulation
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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder that results in
abnormal hormone levels in a woman. In a normal ovary, a single egg develops
and is released during ovulation each month. A polycystic ovary will have many
eggs that are never released.
What is going on in the body?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome often begins with
and worsens with time. The cause of PCOS has not yet been completely
identified. The symptoms of PCOS are related to an excess of the hormone
androgen. This hormone can cause male features such as facial hair and
male-pattern baldness in women. Polycystic ovaries may be normal in size, or they may be enlarged, with smooth, thick coverings.
What are the causes and risks of the disease?
The exact cause of PCOS is not clear. Some of the possible causes include:
certain medicines, such as those used for seizure disorders or mood disorders
an enzyme abnormality that causes an excess of the hormone androgen
genetic disorders that cause an increase in the production of the hormone testosterone
inherited metabolic disorders that interfere with the body's normal use of insulin
The risk of PCOS increases in women who also have one of these conditions:
high blood pressure