Polycystic ovarian syndrome

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Signs and symptoms

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is said to be heterogeneous; that is, patients may experience a wide variety of different symptoms to a greater or lesser degree, and vary over time. Also, a uniform and precise definition of the syndrome is lacking. Women often go to their doctor because they are having menstrual irregularities, experiencing infertility, and/or are having symptoms associated with androgen excess. They may experience:

  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Acanthosis nigricans
  • Acne
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Decreased breast size
  • Deeper voice (rare)
  • Enlarged ovaries
  • Hirsutism involving male hair growth patterns such as hair on the face, sideburn area, chin, upper lip, lower abdominal midline, chest, areola, lower back, buttock, and inner thigh
  • Weight gain/obesity, with fat distribution around the centre of the body
  • Skin tags in the armpits or neck
  • Thinning hair, with male pattern baldness

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