Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal disorder. This is one of the most common hormonal problems in women of childbearing age. Despite its name, there are usually no cysts on the ovaries, although some women may have a large number of small follicles visible during an ultrasound. Egg production is affected by hormonal imbalance. Some women with PCOS have irregular ovulation, often with fewer than eight menstrual cycles a year. Other women with PCOS may have more than one bleeding period a month and each period may last a long time.
PCOS is sometimes associated with insulin resistance. High levels of insulin stimulate the production of androgens (male hormones) by the ovaries. Women with PCOS are also at increased risk for diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol. In order to manage this problem, it is essential to have a healthy diet and regular physical activity.