Polycystic ovarian syndrome is also known as the Stein-Leventhal
syndrome. It is a condition where numerous small cysts (each less
than 1cm) occur in the ovaries
About 25% of British women have polycystic ovaries. However,
only a small number of these women develop the syndrome.
This condition is the most common cause of failure of ovulation
leading to infertility.
The most common symptoms are menstrual disturbances or the
absence of periods, along with obesity, excessive hair growth and
acne. Other, less common symptoms include diabetes, high blood
pressure, heart disease or cancer of the womb lining.
The exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome is unknown,
although the condition tends to run in families.
Diagnosis and treatment
Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms. An ultrasound scan,
and hormonal blood tests usually confirm the diagnosis. In many
cases the blood levels of male sex hormones and insulin levels are
Menstrual disturbances can be controlled with hormone treatment.
Hormonal drugs can be used, and in overweight women symptoms are
greatly improved by weight loss.
If a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome is having difficulty
getting pregnant, drugs can be used (for example Clomiphene), to
help her ovulate (produce eggs). Hormonal treatment has also been
shown to help improve acne and excessive hair growth.
Help, information and
- If you have any concerns or questions about your health speak
to your GP immediately.
- Or you can speak to a doctor or nurse at your Sandyford