Ms R, a 27-year-old woman with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) diagnosed after irregular menses, hirsutism, and polycystic ovaries, is concerned about weight gain despite regular exercise and watching her diet. Prescribed oral contraceptives to regulate her menses and help reduce her androgen levels, she wants to know the alternatives for treatment of PCOS. The varying definitions of PCOS and its heterogeneity confound the interpretation of studies on PCOS. Specific diagnostic criteria have been established based on expert opinion but have not been validated. Several commonly performed laboratory tests are generally unhelpful and the pathophysiology is poorly understood. Treatment options for Ms R, including those that may affect her weight gain, are reviewed and implications for future fertility are discussed.
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