PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women between the ages of 18 and 44. It affects approximately 2% to 20% of this age group depending on how it is defined. When someone is infertile due to lack of ovulation, PCOS is the most common cause. The earliest known description of what is now recognized as PCOS dates from 1721 in Italy.
Common signs and symptoms of PCOS include the following:
Menstrual disorders: PCOS mostly produces oligomenorrhea (fewer than nine menstrual periods in a year) or amenorrhea (no menstrual periods for three or more consecutive months), but other types of menstrual disorders may also occur.
Asians affected by PCOS are less likely to develop hirsutism than those of other ethnic backgrounds.
Women with PCOS tend to have central obesity, but studies are conflicting as to whether visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat is increased, unchanged, or decreased in women with PCOS relative to reproductively normal women with the same body mass index. In any case, androgens, such as testosterone, androstanolone (dihydrotestosterone), and nandrolone decanoate, have been found to increase visceral fat deposition in both female animals and women.