Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome is a common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age. It is characterized by the accumulation of numerous cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on the ovaries associated with high male hormone levels (testosterone), chronic anovulation (absent ovulation), and metabolic disturbances. Its symptoms include excess facial and body hair, acne, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility.
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, it runs in families, so the tendency to develop the syndrome may be inherited. The interaction of hyperinsulinemia (high blood insulin levels) and hyperandrogenism (excessive secretion of male sex hormones produced by adrenal glands) is also believed to play an important role in chronic anovulation in susceptible women.