Approach to adolescent polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in the pediatric endocrine community in the USA

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33 Scopus citations


Objective: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrinopathy in adult women, and is emerging as a common cause of menstrual disturbances in the adolescent population. Insulin resistance, which is considered one of its underlying causes, has increased substantially in the past decade, putting more adolescent girls at risk for PCOS and its complications. Our objective was to survey pediatric endocrinologists' approach to diagnosis and treatment of PCOS in the adolescent population, as there is presently no structured recommended approach to this emerging problem. Design/Methods: A questionnaire survey was sent to 839 members of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society (LWPES). A total of 176 (21%) responses was received and analyzed. Results: The majority of the participants would consider initiating work-up in an adolescent with oligomenorrhea or secondary amenorrhea 12-24 months after menarche. The following work-up was selected as a baseline for a teenager with oligomenorrhea or secondary amenorrhea by more than 50% of participants: LH and FSH, total and free testosterone, prolactin, 17-OH-progesterone, DHEAS and glucose/insulin measurements. For treatment of PCOS, the majority of surveyed endocrinologists suggested estrogen/progesterone combination. Metformin was considered appropriate treatment in the general adolescent population with PCOS by 30% and in obese teenagers with PCOS by 68% of surveyed endocrinologists. Conclusions: Our findings indicate the trend among pediatric endocrinologists towards earlier work-up of menstrual irregularities in adolescents - unlike the traditional practice of waiting for 2 years after menarche. Most pediatric endocrinologists would consider evaluation for insulin resistance using glucose/insulin measurement, but only a small percentage considers performing OGTT in these patients. Even though using estrogen/progesterone combination is the preferred therapeutic approach, 30% of surveyed endocrinologists consider metformin therapy for the general adolescent population with PCOS, and 68% would consider using it in obese adolescents with PCOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-506
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Diagnosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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