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Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the leading cause of infertility and menstrual disturbances.

It is an ovarian expression of the “metabolic syndrome” usually  associated with hyperandrogenism , obesity , insulin resistance , abnormal hair growth and acne.

Atleast 50 % of PCOS patients are obese.


It is primarily an endocrine condition menifesting as high LH/FSH ratio,increased androgen production and high oestrone levels.  The gonadotropin pattern of high LH and low FSH can be due to increased frequency of GnRh pulsatile secretion , which in turn is attributed to a reduction in hypothalamic opiod inhibition because of the chronic absence of progesterone.This is associated with increased secretion of LH which is also correlated to the level of circulating oestrogen.The constant elevated level of estrone may have its effect on hypothalamus resulting in tonic level of LH and negative feedback on FSH.failure of ovulation is related to the arrest of follicular growth at midantral stage.Constant level of FSH stimulates follicular growth and their lifespan may extend several months in the form of multiple follicular cysts , 2 to 10mm in size.
As the follicles undergo atresia , new follicles of the limited growth potential replace them.The tissue derived from follicular atresia is substantial and contributes to the stromal compartment of the ovary.This functioning stroma secretes significant amount of androstenendione and testosterone.Due to elevated LH, androgen secretion increases and this leads to increase in the extraglandular production of oestrogens.

Newer developments have focussed on the role of genetics and insuln resistance.
insulin resistance is present in obese as well as non obese with pcos.

There is hish responsiveness to insulin by ovary as apposed to the resistance of the whole body.
Insulin acts on ovarian stromal cells and there is hyperandrogenemia.

Clinical features

  • menstrual irregularities
  • Hirsuitism
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Infertility


Transabdominal or Transvaginal ultrasonography

There should be atleast 10 follicles (2 to 8 mm in diameter ) arranged peripherally around a dense core of ovarian stroma.

Recent studies say that there should be at least 12 or more follicles ( 2 to 9 mm in diameter)
Or increased ovarian volume ( more than 10 cm3 ) which can be diagnosed with he help of 3D ultrasound.

single polycystic ovary is sufficient to prove the diagnosis.

A woman having polycystic ovaries in the absence of an ovulation disorder or hyperandrogenism ( asymptomatic pcos ) may develop the syndrome if she gains weight.

Investigations with obesity

  • Serum FSH ,LH
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenendione
  • Total testosterone
  • DHEAs
  • BMI is very important.(weight in kg divided by height in m2)

Obesity is considered when BMI is more than 30 kg /m2


  •  It is symptom oriented.
  • Adolescents usually come with the history of amenorrhoea , acne , hirsuitism , oligomenorrhoea or

  • Weight reduction improves menstrual irregularities , reduces hirsuitism and acne.
  • lifestyle modification and dietary modification is required.

Induction of ovulation

With clomiphene citrate 50 to 150 mg for 5 subsequent days from 2nd or 5th day of the cycle.

Metformin (demethyl biguanide ) is an oral hypoglycemic agent widely used in the management of type 2 diabetes.

  • It reduces the production of hepatic glucose and increases sensitivity of the peripheral tissues to insulun by increasing insulin receptors.
  • It is given to all women ( obese / non obese ) with anovulatory infertility due to pcos.however the risk of hypoglycaemia with metformin in pcos is low.
  • Metformin administration in obese PCOS women significantly improves insulin levels,reduces LH and testosterone levels regardless of any change in the body weight.Short term use of metformin with clomiphene improves ovulation rate.
  • renal and hepatic functions must be checked.
  • Metformin improves menstrual cyclicity and fertility within 6 months in 99%.
  • It is given either 500 mg twice daily or 1 gm daily , can be given upto 1500mg / day .
  • Low dose oral contraceptives and progesterones are also given for menstrual irregularities.
  • If there is endometrial hyperplasia then withdrawal bleeding must be induced with the help of progesterones.
  • EB should be done to exclude malignancy.

Infertility associated with hyperandrogenism and hirsuitism

Synthetic progestogens like cyproterone acetate which is antigonadotrophic and antiandrogenic+ethinyloesradiol which controls androgens by inhibiting gonadotrophin secretin is given.

  • Krimson 35 ( sun pharma )
  • Dianette (bayer )
  • Ginette ( cipla )are some of the drugs having these two combinations.these tablets come in calender pack.one tablet daily for 21 days is given.one week is kept free for withdrawal bleeding.
  • LFT is done after 6 months of the treatment.
  • Spironolactone
  • Which is weak diuretic and antiandrogenic can also be given.
  •  DROSPERINONE which is a derivative of spironolactone can also be given.Yasmin is the drug available containing drosperinone/ ethinyl oestradiol.

For Hirsuitism

  • Laser
  • Waxing
  • Chemical depilation can be done.

Surgical treatment:

for many years bilateral ovarian wedge resection was believed to be the only effective treatmeint of pcod or”stein leventhal syndrome ”
Ovulation rate was 60 % but pregnancy rate was as low as 30 to 40 % due to pelvic adhesions.

In 1984 laparoscopic electrocautery was started.ovulation rate was 86 % and pregnancy rate 69 %.
Ovarian drilling is done by making 4 to 10 holes 2 to 5 mm in diameter.
Adhesion formation is still a risk.
With laser ovulation rate is 68 % and pregnancy rate is 38 %.


  • PCOD is the commonest endocrine disorder in women.
  • It’s management is symptom oriented.
  • Weight loss
  • OCPs
  • Dianette
  • Clomiphene citrate
  • Metformin
  • Spironolactone
  • Flutamide are the line of treatment.
Last two are not routinely used due to the side effects.flutamide is used for the treatment of prostatic cancers but having lot of GI side effects usually not given.

Insulin sensitiser like metformin is very promising drug in the treatment of pcod
If there is rapid onset hirsuitism ,amenorrhoea persisting for more than 6 months inspite of the treatment or marked endometrial hyperplasia and refractory symptoms then refer the woman to a reproductive endocrinologist.

left PCOD
left ovarian drilling
right PCOD
bilateral ovarian drilling
blocked left tube and open right tubeDr K Ramesh Naidu… lapsurgeonindia.com


  1. Insler v ,Lunenfeld B ;infertility (2nd edin) Chrchill livingstone 661-78 ,1993
  2. Gluck cj;metformin induced normal menses in PCOS ,metabolism 48(4);511-19,1999
  3. Elting MW hum reprod 15;24-28 ,2000
  4. http://www.lapsurgeonindia.com/
  5. http://www.sunpharma.com/sunpharma-products/sunpharma-formulation/ortus-spectra.php
  6. http://www.inhousepharmacy.com/womens-hrt/generic-diane-35-hrt.html
  7. http://www.ovarian-cysts-pcos.com/glucophage-metformin-pcos.html


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  1. MCQs-Gynaec-1 – ObGyn linked to this post.
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  5. جهاد أحمد عبد السلام

    thank you

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