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What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (also called Stein-Leventhal Syndrome) is caused by a hormone imbalance. Women with PCOS have ovaries that are enlarged and filled with cysts. In addition, they may have very irregular periods and excess body hair growth.

It is thought that excess of the hormone testosterone causes polycystic ovary syndrome. Although testosterone is the male hormone, women also produce small amounts of testosterone from the ovaries and adrenal glands. Too much testosterone will prevent ovulation, leading to infrequent periods or no periods at all.

A gynecologist can tell you whether you have PCOS. If you do, he or she will recommend birth control pills to regulate your cycles. When you want to get pregnant, you may need fertility medication such as Clomid to stimulate ovulation.