Objective: The aim was to formulate practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Participants: An Endocrine Society-appointed Task Force of experts, a methodologist, and a medical writer developed the guideline.
Evidence: This evidence-based guideline was developed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system to describe both the strength of recommendations and the quality of evidence.
Consensus process: One group meeting, several conference calls, and e-mail communications enabled consensus. Committees and members of The Endocrine Society and the European Society of Endocrinology reviewed and commented on preliminary drafts of these guidelines. Two systematic reviews were conducted to summarize supporting evidence.
Conclusions: We suggest using the Rotterdam criteria for diagnosing PCOS (presence of two of the following criteria: androgen excess, ovulatory dysfunction, or polycystic ovaries). Establishing a diagnosis of PCOS is problematic in adolescents and menopausal women. Hyperandrogenism is central to the presentation in adolescents, whereas there is no consistent phenotype in postmenopausal women. Evaluation of women with PCOS should exclude alternate androgen-excess disorders and risk factors for endometrial cancer, mood disorders, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Hormonal contraceptives are the first-line management for menstrual abnormalities and hirsutism/acne in PCOS. Clomiphene is currently the first-line therapy for infertility; metformin is beneficial for metabolic/glycemic abnormalities and for improving menstrual irregularities, but it has limited or no benefit in treating hirsutism, acne, or infertility. Hormonal contraceptives and metformin are the treatment options in adolescents with PCOS. The role of weight loss in improving PCOS status per se is uncertain, but lifestyle intervention is beneficial in overweight/obese patients for other health benefits. Thiazolidinediones have an unfavorable risk-benefit ratio overall, and statins require further study.