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General Health Problems Associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS

Additional Health Issues Related to PCOS

PCOS, short for polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common cause of anovulation and female infertility. PCOS is also sometimes referred to as PCO (polycystic ovaries) or PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease).

Women with PCOS are known to be at increased risks for certain other medical problems. The chances of developing these medical problemss are higher in women with a history of having polycystic ovarian syndrome as compared to women that never had PCOS:
  • Diabetes
    • Insulin resistance is often related to PCOS. Some studies have shown that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome have a 40 to 50% risk of having diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance by age 40.
  • Endometrial cancer
    • Increased risk due to the irregular and inconsistent shedding of the endometrial lining (irregular periods)
  • Lipid Abnormalities
    • Women with PCOS seem more likely to have an unfavorable blood lipid profile which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Hypertension
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Increased Health Risks for Family of Women with PCOS

  • There is evidence that mothers and sisters of women with PCOS are more likely than the general population to have PCOS as well.
  • Fathers and brothers of women with polycystic ovaries appear to be at increased risk for developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
It has been suggested by some medical exprts that family members of women with PCOS should consider being screened for:
  • Insulin resistance
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

Research is continuing in this area so that guidelines for early screening for these conditions can be developed.


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