A new review in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) is aimed at helping clinicians diagnose and manage polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder that affects about 10% of females.
This disorder affects females of reproductive age and is associated with infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy complications. Its long-term health consequences include hypertension, cancer risks, and metabolic and psychological impacts. Patients usually present to health care between ages 18 and 39 years complaining of menstrual cycle irregularities, acne and excessive hair growth, but diagnosis and treatment are often delayed.
The authors of the review hope it will raise awareness of PCOS and help clinicians diagnose and manage the disorder.
“Polycystic ovarian syndrome can be treated effectively, and early diagnosis can allow for close monitoring and preventive care,” said lead author Dr Ebernella Shirin Dason, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility fellow at Sinai Health System, Toronto, Ontario.
Management of the condition may include support for weight loss, combined hormonal contraceptives, and non-hormonal medication like metformin.
Though people with PCOS are more likely to be overweight or obese, the authors caution that “clinicians should be particularly sensitive to weight stigma as patients with PCOS are at risk of dysmorphic body image and disordered eating”.