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Adv Clin Exp Med. 2017 May-Jun;26(3):555-558. doi: 10.17219/acem/61987.

History of discovery of polycystic ovary syndrome.

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Stein and Leventhal are regarded to have been the first investigators of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS); however, in 1721 Vallisneri, an Italian scientist, described a married, infertile woman with shiny ovaries with a white surface, and the size of pigeon eggs. It was not until the early 1990s at a National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored conference on PCOS that formal diagnostic criteria were proposed and afterwards largely utilized. Many scientists tried to explain the pathophysiology of PCOS and many studies were made. It is now accepted that it is multifactorial, partly genetic; however, a number of candidate genes have been postulated. Insulin resistance has been noted consistently among many women with PCOS, especially in those with hyperandrogenism, but it is not included in any of the diagnostic criteria. Now there is strong evidence that cardiovascular disease risk factors and disturbances in carbohydrate metabolism are all increased in patients with PCOS compared to the healthy population. The criteria established by a group of experts during a conference in Rotterdam held in 2003 are obligatory (The Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM - Sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group). The subsequent "Rotterdam criteria" incorporated the size and morphology, as determined by an ultrasound, of the ovary into the diagnostic criteria.


hyperandrogenism; infertile; polycystic ovary syndrome

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