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1 In 15 Women Affected Worldwide By Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, And Burden Likely To Increase

The diverse and complex female endocrine disorder polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects 1 in 15 women worldwide, is a major economic health burden that is likely to expand together with obesity, conclude authors of a Seminar in this week's edition of The Lancet. Dr Theresa Hickey and Prof Robert Norman, University of Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues, reviewed published literature on PCOS up to November 2006 to prepare the Seminar.

Many body systems are affected in PCOS, resulting in several health complications, including menstrual dysfunction, infertility, hirsutism (excessive body hair growth), acne, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Principal symptoms of PCOS are polycystic ovaries shown by ultrasonography, irregular ovulation, and excessive amounts or activity of male hormones (hyperandrogenism). Type 2 diabetes is also more common in women with PCOS. Two differing definitions of PCOS, one from 1990 and the other from 2003, lead to differing statistics and consequences for studies depending on which definition is selected.


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