UC San Diego's reproductive endocrinologists, under the direction of Dr. Antoni Duleba, are world leaders in both the diagnosis and treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Our doctors take an individualized approach to women’s health care, working closely with each patient to determine the best treatment plan to achieve their personal goals, including
- Reducing hair growth
- Establishing regular menstrual cycles
- Limiting the risks of diabetes
- Treating infertility
Our internationally known specialists, with the financial support of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are constantly researching all aspects of PCOS, including its cause, the best diagnostic criteria, and new therapies.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common hormone disorder in women, affecting 5 percent to 10 percent of adolescent girls and adult women of child-bearing age. The signs of PCOS include excessive hair growth on the face and abdomen, acne, irregular or absent menstrual periods, failure of ovulation, and reduced fertility. PCOS usually begins at or soon after puberty and is a life-long condition. Obesity is present in 50 percent of individuals with PCOS. In addition, women with PCOS are at increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and cancer of the uterus.
The excessive hair growth in PCOS is due to excessive male hormone production, such as testosterone, by the ovaries. The cause of failed ovulation and irregular bleeding is not completely understood. Many patients with PCOS have insulin resistance, which leads to elevated insulin levels in the blood and an increased risk of diabetes.
The diagnosis of PCOS is largely dependent on a history of excess hair growth associated with irregular menstrual bleeding, although in some women the menstrual cycles are normal. An ultrasound of the ovaries may be helpful in making the diagnosis. Blood tests for hormone measurements are obtained to confirm the diagnosis. Read more about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).