Childhood obesity has led to an epidemic of young girls suffering from PCOS

Childhood obesity has led to an epidemic of young girls developing early and suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Left undiagnosed, it can lead to serious complications, including metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Newswise — The childhood obesity epidemic has led to another emerging health problem: an increase in the number of young girls developing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). Experts will discuss this trend and other PCOS-related issues at a media teach-in, Tuesday, September 13, 2005, 10 a.m., at the Hyatt Regency Washington (DC) on Capitol Hill.

PCOS is an endocrine disorder with symptoms including weight gain, acne, excess body hair and irregular or absent periods. Weight gain associated with insulin resistance and high insulin levels increases the development of premature pubarche and the subsequent manifestation of PCOS. Girls with a history of premature pubarche also are at increased risk for failure to ovulate.

“This unfolding epidemic is putting girls as young as eleven years old at risk for serious health complications,” commented John Nestler, MD, PCOS conference co-chair. “PCOS usually was diagnosed when women in their twenties and thirties could not conceive but now AACE has addressed the issue of how to diagnose and treat such young people for PCOS and its complications.”

Not only is PCOS the leading cause of female infertility, it also puts women at the greatest risk for IRS, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease. Adolescent girls with PCOS are at significant risk for IRS and type 2 diabetes.

According to the AACE Position Statement on Metabolic and Cardiovascular Consequences of PCOS, 10% of reproductive-age women have the syndrome. “PCOS is treatable, but not curable, with medications, diet and exercise,” commented Rhoda H. Cobin, MD, MACE, PCOS conference chair. “Early detection and careful management by an endocrinologist can prevent many serious PCOS-related complications from occurring.”

AACE is a professional medical organization with more than 5,200 members in the United States and 84 other countries. Founded in 1991, AACE is dedicated to the optimal care of patients with endocrine problems. AACE initiatives inform the public about endocrine disorders. AACE also conducts continuing education programs for clinical endocrinologists, physicians whose advanced, specialized training enables them to be experts in the care of endocrine diseases, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, growth hormone deficiency, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity.