Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common heterogeneous endocrine disorder characterized by irregular menses, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries. The prevalence of PCOS varies depending on which criteria are used to make the diagnosis, but is as high as 15%-20% when the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology/American Society for Reproductive Medicine criteria are used. Clinical manifestations include oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea, hirsutism, and frequently infertility. Risk factors for PCOS in adults includes type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Insulin resistance affects 50%-70% of women with PCOS leading to a number of comorbidities including metabolic syndrome, hypertension, dyslipidemia, glucose intolerance, and diabetes. Studies show that women with PCOS are more likely to have increased coronary artery calcium scores and increased carotid intima-media thickness. Mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and binge eating disorder also occur more frequently in women with PCOS. Weight loss improves menstrual irregularities, symptoms of androgen excess, and infertility. Management of clinical manifestations of PCOS includes oral contraceptives for menstrual irregularities and hirsutism. Spironolactone and finasteride are used to treat symptoms of androgen excess. Treatment options for infertility include clomiphene, laparoscopic ovarian drilling, gonadotropins, and assisted reproductive technology. Recent data suggest that letrozole and metformin may play an important role in ovulation induction. Proper diagnosis and management of PCOS is essential to address patient concerns but also to prevent future metabolic, endocrine, psychiatric, and cardiovascular complications.
Keywords: comorbidities; diagnosis; epidemiology; hyperandrogenism; management; polycystic ovary syndrome; women’s health.