November 12th, 2018

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Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Women Seeking Treatment from Community Electrologists
Authors:  Lisa Farah, M.D., A. Jan Lazenby, B.S.N., Larry R. Boots, Ph.D., Ricardo Azziz, M.D., M.P.H., and the Alabama Professional Electrology Association Study Group
  OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence of the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among women seeking electrology, clients
presenting to nine electrology centers completed a questionnaire.

STUDY DESIGN: Women with potential risk factors were referred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. They underwent a
detailed history and physical examination, including hirsutism scoring by a modified Ferriman-Gallwey (F-G) method. Serum was
assayed for total testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate.

RESULTS: Three hundred fifteen (40%) of 779 patients had potential risk factors for hyperandrogenism and were referred. Eighty-
two (26%) completed their evaluation. Six were excluded secondary to prepubertal or menopausal status. Of the remaining 76
patients, 20% had F-G scores of 7 or 8, 13% had scores of 9 or 10, and 21% had scores >10. Forty-nine (64%) patients reported
irregular menstrual cycles. Sixty-four patients were not receiving hormonal therapy: 25 reported regular menstrual cycles, and 39
reported irregular cycles. Seventeen (68%) of the 25 had at least one abnormal androgen value, while 33 (85%) of the 39 women had
at least one abnormal value (nonsignificant difference). Overall, PCOS was evident in 39 of the 76 women, or 12% of the 315 patients
who were referred for further evaluation.

CONCLUSION: Thirty-nine of the 315 referred patients (12%) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for PCOS. How-
ever, they were not receiving medical care for this condition. In addition, this percentage is a conservative estimate in that 74% of the
referred patients did not pursue a medical evaluation. Therefore, efforts to educate both electrologists and their clients of the
possibility of underlying endocrine disorders and subsequent metabolic morbidity should be undertaken. (J Reprod Med 1999;44:
Keywords:  polycystic ovary syndrome; hirsutism; androgens
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