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A guide to understanding polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  1. W Colin Duncan
  1. Scottish Senior Clinical Fellow and Consultant in Reproductive Medicine, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr W Colin Duncan, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, The Queen's Medical Research Institute, The University of Edinburgh, 47 Little France Crescent, Edinburgh EH16 4TJ, UK; W.C.Duncan{at}ed.ac.uk

Abstract

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the commonest endocrine disorder affecting women of reproductive age. Some 20% of women will have polycystic ovaries on an ultrasound scan and around 7% of women have the additional clinical or biochemical features of PCOS. As a complex multisystem disorder its background can be confusing to understand. They key feature, however, is an increased production of androgen by the ovaries. This review uses ovarian biology to describe a strategy to aid understanding and explanation of PCOS. This framework can be also be used to teach about PCOS and to inform different approaches to its management.

  • polycystic ovary syndrome
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