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Treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescents

Robert L Rosenfield, MD
Section Editors
Amy B Middleman, MD, MPH, MS Ed
Mitchell E Geffner, MD
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) should be considered in any adolescent girl with a chief complaint of hirsutism, menstrual irregularity, or obesity. Acanthosis nigricans, treatment-resistant acne, scalp hair loss, or hyperhidrosis may alternatively be the chief complaint, although these features are not always present (see "Definition, clinical features and differential diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescents", section on 'Clinical features'). PCOS is primarily characterized by ovulatory dysfunction and hyperandrogenism [1]. The diagnosis of PCOS has life-long implications with increased risk for infertility, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and other health implications including possibly cardiovascular disease and endometrial carcinoma [2-5].

Treatment for PCOS in adolescents is primarily directed at the major clinical manifestations, which are:

Abnormal uterine bleeding – menstrual irregularity or excessive bleeding

Cutaneous hyperandrogenism – primarily hirsutism and persistent acne

Obesity and insulin resistance

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 05, 2017.
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