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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Overview

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Polycystic (pronounced pah-lee-SIS-tik) ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a set of symptoms related to a hormonal imbalance that occurs in women and girls of reproductive age. 

PCOS may cause menstrual cycle changes, skin changes such as increased facial and body hair and acne, cysts in the ovaries, and infertility. Often, women with PCOS have problems with their metabolism also.

NICHD scientists are currently investigating the causes of PCOS, possible treatments, and ways to manage this problem.

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Common Names

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • PCOS
  • Hyperandrogenism (pronounced hahy-per-an-DROJ-uh-niz-uhm)
  • Androgen excess syndrome


Medical or Scientific Name

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
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