Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Metabolic Syndrome Health Center

Font Size

A Cause of Female Infertility May Up Heart Risk

Researchers See Link Between PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome
WebMD Health News

April 6, 2005 -- One of the most common causes of female infertility -- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) -- may raise the risk of heart disease.

PCOS is a hormone imbalance that interferes with women's normal ovulation. Nearly 2 million U.S. women could be affected, say doctors from the Medical College of Virginia in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. These women have increased rates of metabolic syndrome, they find.

"These findings support the idea that PCOS should be considered a general health disorder with serious public health implications," they write. They encourage doctors to screen PCOS patients for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of abnormalities that raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Common Problem

The study of 106 women with PCOS showed that 43% also had metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome was twice as common in these women as in women of the same age without PCOS, says the study.

Because PCOS affects up to 10% of the 50 million reproductive-aged women in the United States, if the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in PCOS is approximately 40%, then nearly 2 million women may be affected with both PCOS and the metabolic syndrome, write the researchers.

Symptoms of PCOS

Symptoms of PCOS include:

PCOS can start gradually. Many women (but not all) will have numerous small cysts on their ovaries. Some women have other symptoms but do not have evidence of ovarian cysts.

To diagnose PCOS, doctors look at many possible causes of excess and abnormal production of male hormones. Medications and lifestyle adjustments, such as weight loss in overweight women, are usually used to treat the metabolic problems associated with PCOS.

Insulin resistance is the hallmark of PCOS, say the researchers. The body makes insulin to control blood sugar.

Today on WebMD

salad and fruit in refrigerator
How much do you know?
person pinching fat
What is it?
woman on bathroom scale
12 things that make it more likely.
vegetables in basket
What to do.
Heart Foods Slideshow
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Stroke Risk
Lowering Blood Pressure Slideshow
Salt Shockers
Cholesterol Fact or Fiction
Metabolic Syndrome 11 Things You Should Know
Omega 3 Overview Slideshow

WebMD Special Sections