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

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

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.
  • 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 12/16/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Symptoms Question: What symptoms did you experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Diagnosis Question: What were the events, tests, and exams that led to a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Complications Question: Please discuss the complications you've experienced with PCOS.
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.