Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that leads to high testosterone levels in women. It affects approximately 10 percent of women, and is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women of reproductive age. The specific cause of PCOS is not yet understood, but it is often associated with weight gain and obesity, and develops around puberty. Symptoms include irregular periods, excess facial and body hair, acne, and hair loss from the head. Women with PCOS are at increased risk for diabetes, sleep apnea, high cholesterol and infertility.
PCOS can be diagnosed through blood tests. It is important to distinguish PCOS from other hormonal conditions that can lead to similar symptoms. Although there is no cure for PCOS, most of its symptoms can be minimized and controlled. Treatment usually involves birth control pills and other medications that can decrease testosterone levels, improve hair growth, regulate menstrual cycles and possibly restore fertility.
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