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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome


* Not a rare disease
Other Names for this Disease
  • PCOS
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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's menstrual cycle, ability to have children, hormones, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. Women with this condition typically have high levels of  hormones called androgens, missed or irregular periods, and many small cysts in their ovaries. The cause of PCOS is unknown, but probably involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for PCOS may involve birth control pills and medications for diabetes and infertility. Medicines called anti-androgens are also used to speed the growth of hair and clear acne.[1]
Last updated: 11/10/2008


  1. DePaolo LV. Frequently asked questions: Polycystic ovarian syndrome. National Women's Health Information Center Web site. April 1, 2007; Accessed 11/10/2008.
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