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Minerva Ginecologica 2010 February;62(1):33-48


language: English

Best methods for identification and treatment of PCOS

Artini P. G., Di Berardino O. M., Simi G., Papini F., Ruggiero M., Monteleone P., Cela V.

Department of Reproductive Medicine and Child Development, Division of Obstetric and Gynecology, “S. Chiara” Hospital, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy


The polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) includes a wide spectrum of clinical symptoms and signs. Three different diagnostic classifications have been proposed to define this disease. The first one, published in 1990, known as the “NIH criteria” requires the simultaneous presence of hyperandrogenism and menstrual dysfunction in order to diagnose PCOS. Later on, in 2003, an expert panel met in Rotterdam and added to the previous criteria the presence of polycystic ovarian morphology detected by transvaginal ultrasonography. The later classification broadened the spectrum of PCOS and also included women with oligomenorrhea and PCO without hyperandrogenism or hyperandrogenism and PCO without menstrual dysfunction. Finally, the Androgen Excess Society, published in 2006 new diagnostic criteria which required the presence of clinical or biochemical hyperandrogenism, with either PCO or menstrual dysfunction to diagnose PCOS. This review focuses on the diagnostic techniques and methods of treatment for PCOS patients. Special attention is given to the role of insulin resistance and the potential utility of insulin sensitizers in management of the syndrome. The benefit and utmost importance of lifestyle modification for the long-term health of these women is stressed as well. It is hoped that some clarity in this regard will allow more women to not only be diagnosed and managed properly for their presenting symptoms (hirsutism, irregular menses, etc.), but also to be educated and managed for the continuing health risk of insulin resistance throughout their lives.

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