Androgen Levels May be Key in Catching PCOS Early

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Jun;1135:76-84. Links
Polycystic ovary syndrome in adolescence.Blank SK, Helm KD, McCartney CR, Marshall JC.
Center for Research in Reproduction, Box 800391, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinopathy among reproductive-aged women and is characterized by hyperandrogenemia, menstrual dysfunction, and polycystic ovarian morphology.

The hormonal abnormalities inherent in PCOS often begin in adolescence and include hyperinsulinemia and rapid luteinizing hormone (LH) pulse frequency, both of which mediate ovarian and adrenal overproduction of androgens.

Although differences exist regarding the diagnostic criteria for PCOS, we believe that hyperandrogenemia is the final common pathway for the development of adolescent PCOS, and we propose a hypothesis to illustrate such.

Recognizing and reducing androgen levels in adolescence is critical given their association with the metabolic syndrome (MBS), diabetes, and infertility in adulthood.