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How many people are affected or at risk for PCOS?

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How many people are affected by PCOS?

PCOS affects between 5% and 10% of women ages 18 to 44.1,2 Because the criteria used to define PCOS are still changing, the exact number of women affected is unknown, but is estimated to be about one in every 10 to 15 women. Most women are diagnosed during their twenties or thirties, but PCOS may affect girls as young as 11 who haven't even had their first period.3

Who is at risk for PCOS?1,4

Women are at higher risk for PCOS if they:

  • Have a mother or sister with PCOS
  • Are obese

  1. Trivax, B., & Azziz, R. (2007). Diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 50, 168–177. [top]
  2. NICHD, NIH, DHHS. (2008). Beyond infertility: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (08-5863). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.[top]
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, PubMed Health. (2011). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved December 22, 2011, from [top]
  4. Goodarzi, M. O., Dumesic, D. A., Chazenbalk, G., & Azziz, R. (2011). Polycystic ovary syndrome: Etiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7, 219–231. [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 05/23/2013