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Minerva Ginecologica 2015 December;67(6):545-55


language: English

Metabolic consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome

Churchill S. J. 1, Wang E. T. 1, 2, Pisarska M. D. 1, 2

1 Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA; 2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder in women and the leading cause of anovulatory infertility. The prevalence of the syndrome ranges between 6 to 15% based on broader Rotterdam diagnostic criteria verses strict NIH diagnostic criteria.1 The condition is characterized by a combination of ovulatory dysfunction, hyperandrogenism and the presence of polycystic ovaries. PCOS has been associated with multiple metabolic alterations and consequences including impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, type II diabetes, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, obesity and subclinical cardiovascular disease. It remains unclear however if these associations lead to an increased risk of clinically significant long-term cardiovascular disease. Large prospective studies to date have not detected significant differences in overall cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in PCOS. The phenotypical variability in PCOS has made researching each of these associations challenging as different aspects of the syndrome may be contributing, opposing or confounding factors. The ability to detect significant differences in long-term cardiovascular outcomes may also be due to the variable nature of the syndrome. In this review, we attempt to describe a summary of the current literature concerning the metabolic alterations and cardiovascular consequences of polycystic ovary syndrome.

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