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polycystic ovary syndrome
This is an endocrine (glandular) disorder that affects 5-10% of women. It begins about the time of puberty, but is often not diagnosed until a number of years later when fertility problems are noted. An older term for this condition is Stein-Leventhal syndrome.
The most common symptom is irregular menstrual cycles. About 80% of women with six or fewer menstrual periods per year have the syndrome. According to the Endocrine Society, of these women, 40% will already have type 2 diabetes (the "adult onset" type) or prediabetes when diagnosed.
A major educational campaign is underway to both better educate primary care physicians about the disorder and encourage women with suspicious symptoms to request testing for the condition.
Copyright© 1996-2000 Jeffrey W. Hull