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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Its Differential Diagnosis

Lane, Danielle E. MD

Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey: February 2006 - Volume 61 - Issue 2 - p 125-135
doi: 10.1097/01.ogx.0000197817.93201.04

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder of reproductive-aged women. It affects between 3.4–6.8% of this population. Common clinical symptoms of PCOS include menstrual irregularities, hirsutism, and often obesity. Long-term sequelae include anovulatory infertility, endometrial carcinoma, and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease due to type II diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and systolic hypertension.

The diagnosis of PCOS is one of exclusion and is defined by the Rotterdam criteria which were established in 2004. However, several other endocrine disorders can closely resemble PCOS. It is important for practitioners to recognize and distinguish PCOS from other disorders in its differential.

Target Audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians

Learning Objectives: After completion of this article, the reader should be able to summarize the short-term reproductive and long-term metabolic consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), point out the importance of meeting the current criteria for diagnosis, and recall the recommended treatment related to the clinical presentation of the patient.

Director, Center for Reproductive Health, Kaiser Vacaville, Vacaville, California

Chief Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series of continuing education activities in this Journal through which a total of 36 AMA/PRA category 1 credit hours can be earned in 2006. Instructions for how CME credits can be earned appear on the last page of the Table of Contents.

The author has disclosed that she has no financial relationships with or interests in any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.

The author has disclosed that combined oral contraceptives and the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in the treatment of menorrhagia. Please consult product labeling for the approved usage of this drug or device.

Wolters Kluwer Health has identified and resolved all faculty conflicts of interest regarding this educational activity.

Reprint requests to: Danielle E. Lane, MD, Director, Center for Reproductive Health, Kaiser Vacaville, 3700 Vaca Valley Parkway, Vacaville, CA 95688. E-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.