Long Term health consequences of PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the commonest endocrinopathy among women of reproductive age with an estimated prevalence of about 10%. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome may display a wide range of clinical symptoms related to the clinical consequences of persistent anovulation. These effects include infertility, menstrual irregularities ranging from amenorrhea to dysfunctional uterine bleeding, hirsutism and acne.

More important, the long-term effects of PCOS include:
  • Type 2 diabetes - The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in women diagnosed with PCOS is 7 times higher than controls. Insulin resistance combined with abdominal obesity is thought to account for the higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes in PCOS. However, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is also increased in non-obese women with PCOS.
  • Cardiovascular disease - Insulin resistance and the consequent hyperinsulinemia appears to be the main reason for the increased cardiovascular risk of women with PCOS.
  • Endometrial cancer - Prolonged anovulation which characterizes the syndrome is considered to be the main mechanism responsible for continual unopposed secretion of estrogens and consequent increased risk of endometrial hyperplasia and later carcinoma.

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