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Am J Clin Dermatol. 2007;8(4):201-19.

Dermatologic manifestations of polycystic ovary syndrome.

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School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California 94143-0316, USA.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10% of reproductive-aged women and is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women. The disorder is commonly characterized by elevated levels of androgen and insulin. Women with PCOS may present with a range of signs and symptoms, and face increased risks of reproductive, metabolic, cardiovascular, psychologic, and neoplastic sequelae, particularly if the condition is left unrecognized or untreated. The clinical definition of PCOS has changed in recent years and includes as one of its cardinal criteria the dermatologic manifestations of hyperandrogenism, chiefly hirsutism, acne vulgaris, and androgenetic alopecia. Acanthosis nigricans, a cutaneous sign of hyperinsulinemia, may also be present. These dermatologic features may provide early clinical clues to recognition of PCOS, and treatment of these cutaneous conditions may improve the patient's quality of life and psychologic well-being. The effects of androgen on pilosebaceous units in the skin can vary by anatomic location, producing pathophysiologic effects on hair growth and differentiation, sebaceous gland size and activity, and follicular keratinization. Treatment modalities may include hormonal therapy intended to modulate androgen production and action as well as non-hormonal therapies directed toward specific dermatologic conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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