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How many people are affected or at risk for PCOS?

Estimates suggest that polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects between 8% and 20% of reproductive-age women worldwide.

How many people are affected by PCOS?

PCOS affects between 8% and 20% of reproductive-age women worldwide.1 Because there is no universal definition of PCOS, the exact number of women in the United States with PCOS is unknown, but is thought to be approximately 5 million.2,3 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.4

Who is at risk for PCOS?1,5

Women are at higher risk for PCOS if they:

  • Have a mother or sister with PCOS
  • Are obese


  1. Sirmans, S. M., & Pate, K. A. (2014). Epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Clinical Epidemiology, 6, 1–13.
  2. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins—Gynecology. (2009; reaffirmed 2015). ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 108: Polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 114(4), 936–949. Retrieved August 5, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19888063
  3. National Institutes of Health. (2012). Evidence-based Methodology Workshop on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, December 3–5, 2012: Executive summary. Retrieved June 20, 2016 from https://prevention.nih.gov/docs/programs/pcos/FinalReport.pdf (PDF - 225 KB)
  4. National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, PubMed Health. (n.d.). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001408
  5. Goodarzi, M. O., Dumesic, D. A., Chazenbalk, G., & Azziz, R. (2011). Polycystic ovary syndrome: Etiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7(4), 219–231. Retrieved August 26, 2016, from http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/v7/n4/full/nrendo.2010.217.html External Web Site Policy

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

How many people are affected or at risk for PCOS?

What causes PCOS?

How do health care providers diagnose PCOS?

Is there a cure for PCOS?

What are the treatments for PCOS?

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