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MEDICAL PROBLEMS: BRIEF REVIEWS—Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Michael J Katz

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Five to ten percent of women have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In PCOS, reproductive hormones do not cycle. Instead, estrogens and luteinizing hormone (LH) remain at high levels. Women with PCOS ovulate rarely or not at all, and they do not have regular menstrual periods. They tend to be overweight and to have excess body hair. Untreated, they will remain infertile and will be more likely than normal to develop diabetes, artery disease, and endometrial cancer. Giving a woman with PCOS periodic progestin supplements can reestablish menstrual cycling and reduce her risk for serious medical problems. Metformin can reduce her risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition, drugs that temporarily increase her follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels can induce ovulation and lead to a normal pregnancy . . .


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