Polycystic ovary syndrome

Anju E. Joham, Robert J. Norman, Elisabet Stener-Victorin, Richard S. Legro, Stephen Franks, Lisa J. Moran, Jacqueline Boyle, Helena J. Teede

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 5–18% of women, and is a reproductive, metabolic, and psychological condition with impacts across the lifespan. The cause is complex, and includes genetic and epigenetic susceptibility, hypothalamic and ovarian dysfunction, excess androgen exposure, insulin resistance, and adiposity-related mechanisms. Diagnosis is recommended based on the 2003 Rotterdam criteria and confirmed with two of three criteria: hyperandrogenism (clinical or biochemical), irregular cycles, and polycystic ovary morphology. In adolescents, both the criteria of hyperandrogenism and irregular cycles are needed, and ovarian morphology is not included due to poor specificity. The diagnostic criteria generates four phenotypes, and clinical features are heterogeneous, with manifestations typically arising in childhood and then evolving across adolescent and adult life. Treatment involves a combination of lifestyle alterations and medical management. Lifestyle optimisation includes a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise to prevent excess weight gain, limit PCOS complications and target weight reduction when needed. Medical management options include metformin to improve insulin resistance and metabolic features, combined oral contraceptive pill for menstrual cycle regulation and hyperandrogenism, and if needed, anti-androgens for refractory hyperandrogenism. In this Review, we provide an update on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and clinical features of PCOS, and discuss the needs and priorities of those with PCOS, including lifestyle, and medical and infertility treatment. Further we discuss the status of international evidence-based guidelines (EBG) and translation, to support patient self management, healthcare provision, and to set research priorities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-680
Number of pages13
JournalThe Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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