Font Size

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs when a hormone imbalance interferes with normal ovulation. PCOS is a major cause of infertility; if it is not treated, it can lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome include irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, acne, male-pattern hair loss, and male-type hair growth on the face and body. Symptoms may occur early in the condition. Or they may develop gradually.

The cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is not fully understood. Genetics are a factor.

There is no known cure for polycystic ovary syndrome. Treatment focuses on correcting reproductive hormone levels, metabolism problems, and body weight. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are the cornerstone of PCOS treatment. And medicines can be helpful.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerPatrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedFebruary 7, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Medical Dictionary