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Intern Med J. 2014 Aug;44(8):720-6. doi: 10.1111/imj.12495.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: a common hormonal condition with major metabolic sequelae that physicians should know about.

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Diabetes and Vascular Medicine Unit, Monash Health, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI), Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent, chronic and heterogeneous endocrine condition, with reproductive, metabolic and psychological features. Insulin resistance and hyperandrogenaemia are the key pathophysiological hormonal abnormalities. Insulin resistance is a significant contributor to the reproductive and metabolic complications of PCOS, both independently and in the setting of excess bodyweight. While the diagnostic criteria are now internationally uniformly accepted, individual components of the criteria are ill-defined, making diagnosis challenging. This, along with low awareness of PCOS, has resulted in a significant proportion of women remaining undiagnosed. While reproductive features are best recognised in PCOS and form the basis of the diagnostic criteria, awareness of psychological and metabolic features, recommended screening protocols, and management strategies to prevent metabolic complications are important. In this review, we focus on diagnostic criteria, and reproductive, metabolic and psychological features of PCOS, as well as recommended screening and management strategies suggested by national and international evidence-based guidelines.


hyperandrogenaemia; insulin resistance; metabolic syndrome; obesity; polycystic ovary syndrome; subfertility

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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