PCOS Information

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common causes of infertility in women. However, the cause is not entirely understood. There may be a genetic component, and women with this condition are often overweight as well, but more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between these various factors.
PCOS affects different systems in the body, and as a result, symptoms vary widely. Common ones include:
  • Infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
  • Increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sleep apnea.
(Click PCOS Symptoms to learn more.)
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PCOS at present. In the meantime, treatment focuses on preventing and managing symptoms and helping a woman to conceive if she wants to become pregnant. Options include medication, surgery, and lifestyle changes -- typically, a combination of treatments is recommended.
(Click PCOS Treatment to read about the different ways in which this condition is managed.)
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD