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Women With Asymptomatic Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Have No Increased Risk of Infertility, Study Says

October 17, 2003

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome who have multiple cysts detected during ultrasound but do not have any symptoms are at no greater risk of infertility than women who do not have PCOS, according to a study published in the October 2003 issue of Fertility and Sterility, Reuters Health reports (Boggs, Reuters Health, 10/15). PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can cause irregular menstrual cycles, obesity, acne, excess hair growth and infertility in women (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 10/10/02). Researchers from Britain's University of Hull administered a questionnaire to women with PCOS and women with normal ovaries, including questions about previous pregnancies, menstrual pattern, features of PCOS, gynecological history and "individual lifestyle factors" (Hassan/Killick, Fertility and Sterility, October 2003). More than one-third of the 210 women in the study with polycystic ovary appearance during ultrasound did not have any symptoms, Reuters Health reports (Reuters Health, 10/15).

Researchers found that women with PCOS demonstrated increased infertility in connection to the number of symptoms present. The amount of time it took asymptomatic woman with PCOS to become pregnant was not significantly longer than the time to pregnancy for women with normal ovaries, according to the study (Fertility and Sterility, October 2003). Study co-author Mohamed Hassan said, "Based on the available evidence, asymptomatic women who are found to have appearance of polycystic ovaries can be told that the incidental finding of polycystic ovaries is common. In the absence of relevant symptoms, women can be reassured that this finding does not have a significant impact on their fertility." He added that women with PCOS "should be advised to closely observe their weight, as excessive weight gain in these cases could be associated with a negative effect not only on their fertility but also on their general health" (Reuters Health, 10/15).

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