Stein-Leventhal syndrome: A hormonal problem that causes women to have various symptoms, including irregular or no menstruation, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. Women with polycystic ovary (PCO) do not ovulate (release an egg for fertilization) every month. They are at a higher risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Much of this risk can be reversed by exercise and weight loss. Medication is generally prescribed to induce regular menstruation, reducing the cancer risk. For acne and excess hair growth, medications can help. Clomiphene (brand name: Clomid) can be used to induce ovulation if pregnancy is desired. A type of surgery called a wedge resection, in which a piece of the ovary is removed, seems to help some women. No one is sure what causes PCO, but the ovaries of women with PCO contain a number of small cysts.
Also known as polycystic ovarian disease (PCO).
The name "Stein-Leventhal" is after the late American gynecologists Irving F. Stein, Sr. and Michael Leo Leventhal.
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Last Editorial Review: 1/25/2017