Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a heterogeneous collection of signs and symptoms that, gathered together, form a spectrum of a disorder with a mild presentation in some, whereas in others there may be a severe disturbance of reproductive, endocrine and metabolic function. The definition of the syndrome has been much debated, with key features including menstrual cycle disturbance, hyperandrogenism and obesity. The pathophysiology of PCOS appears to be multifactorial and polygenic and is still being actively researched. PCOS is the most common endocrine disturbance and affects 10-15% of women in the UK. The clinical findings of hirsutism, acne, alopecia and obesity do not always correlate with the serum biochemistry, which itself may be difficult to assess. There is no doubt that PCOS has a significant effect on quality of life and psychological morbidity and, as many specialists may be involved in its management, a multidisciplinary approach is required.
The 59th RCOG Study Group brought together a wide range of experts who treat women with PCOS and the clinical conditions related to the syndrome. The actual definition, the accuracy of diagnostic investigations, the particular challenges in adolescent diagnosis and management, the relationship with ethnicity and issues relating to the clinical care of women with PCOS are all covered in this comprehensive book.