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Medicina (Kaunas). 2010;46(2):142-57.

[Body composition and polycystic ovary syndrome].

[Article in Lithuanian]

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Department of Anatomy, Histology and Anthropology, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University, M. K. Ciurlionio 21/27, Vilnius, Lithuania.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common endocrine metabolic disorders of reproductive age women. The main signs of PCOS are as follows: androgen excess, menstrual dysfunction, infertility, obesity, and other numerous health problems. By different authors, the disorder affects 2-28% of reproductive age women. Polycystic ovary syndrome is characterized by presence of hyperandrogenism, anovulation, menstrual cycle disturbances, also by the other metabolic changes. The lack of well-defined and universally accepted diagnostic criteria makes identification of this syndrome confusing to many clinicians. There are only few studies concerning the correlations between phenotypic expression, body composition and PCOS, and relationship with the processes of growth and sexual maturation and various environmental factors (nutrition, physical activity, stress, and other factors). There is a lack of knowledge about further PCOS development and prognosis, considering the individual and environmental factors. Variation in human body composition and shape ranges considerably: many body size and shape indices (height, weight, body composition, and proportions) are the result of long evolution process and adaptation to environment. Obviously, the morphological body parameters, physiological and biochemical indices are complex and compound the interdependent system. By current literature, more than 50% of women are overweight or obese. If waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio of women with PCOS increase, reproductive function and metabolic state of a woman is altered more than in cases when there are no changes in these parameters. The investigations of the strongest sexual dimorphism sign--the subcutaneous and visceral fat topography--showed that women with PCOS have greater adipose tissue mass in the areas of the abdomen, waist, and upper arms than control women. It is known that some indices of sexual dimorphism may be considered as the morphological signs of hyperandrogenism, for example handgrip, waist-to-hip ratio, hand and foot length, 2nd-to-4th digit (finger length) ratio (2D:4D), certain facial characteristics. Only 2D:4D ratio was investigated for the women with PCOS. The early changes of certain morphological and other indices of physical status could help to predict some metabolic characteristics, development of PCOS, and outcome of this syndrome.

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