Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes irregular menstrual periods and elevated levels of androgens (male hormones) in women. The elevated androgen levels can sometimes cause excessive facial hair growth, acne, and/or male-pattern hair thinning. The condition occurs in about 5 to 10 percent of women. Some, but not all, women with PCOS are overweight, and they are at higher risk of developing diabetes. For women with PCOS who want to become pregnant, hormone pills or injections are often needed to help women ovulate.
Although PCOS is not completely reversible, there are a number of treatments that can reduce or minimize bothersome symptoms. Most women with PCOS are able to lead a normal life without significant complications.