August 15, 2002
PCOS prevalence estimated at 6%; hirsutism most common presentation – Study of 609 Women
Timothy F. Kirn
SAN FRANCISCO — A survey of women seeking employment physicals suggests that the prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome is 6% in the United States, Keslie Woods said in a poster presentation at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.
The study recruited 609 consecutive women who were seeking a pre-employment physical at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, of whom 402 agreed to participate, said Ms. Woods of the university.
Of those women, 15 had confirmed polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), defined as having menstrual cycles less than 26 days or more than 35 days in length, or anovulation demonstrated by a midluteal progesterone level less than 4 ng/mL if the cycles were between 26 and 35 days, together with hyperandrogenemia and/or hirsutism, after related disorders were ruled out.
An additional 53 of the women were considered to have possible PCOS. These were women in whom the evaluation was incomplete because they did not provide blood. Four of these women had hirsutism according to a standardized scale and menstrual dysfunction as defined above. These women were therefore presumed to have PCOS.
For the remainder of the possible cases, the researchers took the percentage of women who had the same profile and were known to have PCOS and used it to calculate the probable number among those possible cases.
Adding together the presumed and positive cases, the researchers arrived at a total of 25 cases out of 402 women, or 6%.
The study also suggested that hirsutism is a more common sign of PCOS than menstrual dysfunction, Ms. Woods said. Of 309 women in the study who were eumenorrheic, 16 were hirsute. Of those 16, full evaluations were done in 10, of whom 6(60%) were confirmed to have PCOS.
Of 82 women with menstrual dysfunction but not hirsutism, only 2 of 37 (5%) with a complete evaluation had confirmed PCOS.
COPYRIGHT 2002 International Medical News Group
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