Ovarian morphology and prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in reproductive aged women with or without mild acne

Int J Dermatol. 2010 Jul;49(7):775-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04389.x.


Background: Acne and hirsutism are common manifestations of hyperandrogenemia. They may also be a sign of underlying severe diseases. Aim To compare ovarian morphology and prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in reproductive aged women with or without mild acne and hirsutism.

Methods: 52 women with mild acne and 59 age-matched controls were included in this study. Main outcome measures were the prevalence of PCOS, ovarian morphology, and ovarian stromal thickness in both groups, and acne and hirsutism subgroups. Patients in both groups were taking no hormonal therapy at that time. Androgen profiles were compared between the two groups.

Results: The prevalence of PCOS was 17.1% (19/111) in all women included in this study. In the acne group, the prevalence of PCOS was 26.9% (14/52), and significantly more prevalent than in control group [8.4% (5/59), P = 0.001]. Total ovarian volume was significantly larger and stromal thickness of the ovary was thicker in women with acne than women without acne. There were no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and 17-hydroxyprogesterone, respectively, while serum total testosterone levels were significantly higher (P < 0.05) in women with acne than those women in the control group.

Conclusions: Acne and hirsutism may not only cause cosmetic concern but may also be a sign of underlying PCOS. Therefore, women presenting with acne and/or hirsutism should be evaluated in terms of PCOS.

MeSH terms

  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone / blood
  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / blood
  • Female
  • Hirsutism / epidemiology*
  • Hirsutism / metabolism
  • Hirsutism / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperandrogenism / epidemiology
  • Hyperandrogenism / metabolism
  • Hyperandrogenism / pathology
  • Ovary / pathology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / pathology
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • 17-alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone