Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS, POS, POD, Stein-Leventhal Syndrome)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ovarian Cysts Pictures Slideshow
PCOS symptoms in clude weight gain

PCOS Symptoms

Weight Gain and PCOS

A Viewer Asks: I have gained a serious amount of weight since the loss of my periods and my doctor believes I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Do women who are treated for this condition lose the weight they gained due to PCOS?

Dr. Stöppler's Answer: It is still being debated whether the weight gain is what caused the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to emerge, or whether PCOS causes weight gain. It is known that obesity, sometimes even beginning early in life, is present in about half of women with PCOS.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) facts

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an illness characterized by irregular or no periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth.
  • Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
  • PCOS's main signs and symptoms are related to menstrual disturbances and elevated levels of male hormones (androgens).
  • With proper treatment, risks can be minimized. Ideal treatment is directed to each of the manifestations of PCOS.

What is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms. It should be noted that most women with the condition have a number of small cysts in the ovaries. However, women may have cysts in the ovaries for a number of reasons, and it is the characteristic constellation of symptoms, rather than the presence of the cysts themselves, that is important in establishing the PCOS diagnosis.

PCOS occurs in 5% to 10% of women and is the most common cause of infertility in women. PCOS symptoms may begin in adolescence with menstrual irregularities , or a woman may not know she has PCOS until later in life when symptoms and/or infertility occur. Women of all ethnicities may be affected.

Picture of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Picture of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2015
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  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Diagnosis

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