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Minerva Medica 2007 June;98(3):175-89

Copyright © 2007 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Comprehensive clinical management of polycystic ovary syndrome

Setji T. L., Brown A. J.

Division of Endocrinology Department of Medicine Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC, USA


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Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 6-7% of reproductive-aged women. Although the diagnostic criteria for PCOS have been debated, it is frequently characterized by hyperandrogenism (hirsutism, acne, male-pattern hair loss), oligo-anovulation, and polycystic ovaries on ultrasound. The reproductive and metabolic complications associated with the syndrome can be serious, so a comprehensive approach to the evaluation and treatment of affected women is important. Menstrual cycle control is necessary to prevent endometrial hyperplasia, and this can be accomplished with hormonal contraception, progesterone therapy, and weight loss (if overweight). In women desiring pregnancy, commonly used ovulation induction therapies include weight loss, clomiphene citrate, and/or metformin. Cos-metic issues such as hirsutism, acne and male-pattern hair loss can be challenging to cope with. Treatment options include estrogen-containing hormonal contraceptive agents, antiandrogens, and topical agents. More permanent hair reduction can be achieved with electrolysis and laser therapy. Evaluation of metabolic complications includes risk assessment for diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Women with PCOS should also be screened for sleep apnea, as this has been reported to occur more commonly in women with PCOS. Finally, mental health issues such as depression and eating disorders may be present. Many of the complications associated with PCOS can be managed with therapeutic lifestyle change, including a healthy diet, exercise, weight loss (if overweight), and psychological support. Pharmacolo-gical therapies are also available to effectively regulate menstrual cycles and manage cosmetic complications. This article will review the current diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in PCOS.

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