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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome More Common in the Obese

Disease prevalence five times higher in overweight and obese than in leaner women

MONDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Overweight and obese women have five times the incidence of polycystic ovary syndrome than do leaner women, according to the results of a Spanish study published in the Oct. 23 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Francisco Alvarez-Blasco, M.D., of the Hospital Universitario Ramon y Cajal in Madrid, and colleagues evaluated 113 overweight or obese premenopausal women for polycystic ovary syndrome from May 2002 to December 2005. In Spain, the rate of polycystic ovary syndrome in lean women is 5.5 percent.

Thirty-two women (28.3 percent) were diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, with the degree of obesity not contributing to the prevalence. Additionally, three women had hyperandrogenemia, two presented with idiopathic hirsutism, two had chronic oligomenorrhea and two had oligomenorrhea with hyperprolactinemia. The other 72 women (63.7 percent) had no hyperandrogenic symptoms or reproductive abnormalities.

"We conclude that physicians treating overweight and obese patients should be aware of the high prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome among these women and that screening for polycystic ovary syndrome, at least by obtaining a detailed menstrual history and a careful clinical evaluation of hyperandrogenic symptoms, should be conducted routinely to diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome and ameliorate the health burden distinctly associated with this prevalent disorder," the authors write.

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