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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2004 February;56(1):1-6

language: English

Diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome: from NIH criteria to ESHRE-ASRM guidelines

Carmina E.


In the past, the diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was based on National Institute of Health (NIH) criteria (hyperandrogenism and chronic anovulation) or on sonographic findings of polycystic ovaries. Diffe-rences in diagnosis criteria made it difficult to compare the data of studies coming from different countries. Moreover, there was criticism of both the methods used. In 2003, at a joint meeting of the European Society for Human Reproduction (ESHRE) and the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), new guidelines for the diagnosis of PCOS were suggested. According to these guidelines, it is possible to reach a diagnosis of PCOS when at least 2 of these 3 elements are present: hyperandrogenism, chronic anovulation and polycystic ovaries. New criteria for the echographic diagnosis of polycystic ovaries have been suggested, too. These diagnostic guidelines represent important progress because they are more flexible and permit us to make the diagnosis in patients who were previously excluded by the syndrome (such as ovulatory hyperandrogenic women with polycystic ovaries or anovulatory normoandrogenic women with polycystic ovaries). However, doubts still exist and regard some borderline group of patients such as hirsute ovulatory normoandrogenic women with polycystic ovaries. A new classification of PCOS syndrome is suggested on the basis of new guidelines.

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