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

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS's principal signs and symptoms are related to menstrual disturbances and elevated levels of male hormones (androgens). Menstrual disturbances can include delay of normal menstruation (primary amenorrhea), the presence of fewer than normal menstrual periods (oligomenorrhea), or the absence of menstruation for more than three months ( secondary amenorrhea ). Menstrual cycles may not be associated with ovulation (anovulatory cycles) and may result in heavy bleeding.

Symptoms related to elevated androgen levels include acne, excess hair growth on the body (hirsutism), and male-pattern hair loss.

Other PCOS signs and symptoms include:

Any of the above symptoms and signs may be absent in PCOS, with the exception of irregular or no menstrual periods. All women with PCOS will have irregular or no menstrual periods . Women who have PCOS do not regularly ovulate; that is, they do not release an egg every month. This is why they do not have regular periods and typically have difficulty conceiving.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/4/2015

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