Clin Exp Reprod Med.  2021 Sep;48(3):194-197. 10.5653/cerm.2020.04329.

Update on polycystic ovary syndrome

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Healthcare System Gangnam Center, Seoul National University Hospital and the Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Population, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder in reproductive-age women. In 2018, an international evidence-based guideline announced recommendations spanning a wide range of issues on the assessment and management of PCOS. From the 166 recommendations, the present study reviews those that are of particular clinical relevance for daily practice and introduces other relevant studies that have been published since the global guideline. The 2018 guideline increased the antral follicle count cutoff for the diagnosis of PCOS from 12 to 20 when using a high-frequency probe. Hirsutism was defined as having a score of ≥4–6 based on a lower percentile of 85%–90% or cluster analysis, which was lower than the traditionally used 95th percentile-based cutoff. The diagnosis of PCOS in adolescents is challenging, and irregular menstruation was defined carefully according to years from menarche. The use of ultrasonography for the diagnosis of PCOS was restricted to those 8 years after menarche. As medication for non-fertility indications, combined oral contraceptives are the first-line drug. Metformin, in addition to lifestyle modifications, should be considered for adult patients with a body mass index ≥25 kg/m2 for the management of weight and metabolic outcomes. An aromatase inhibitor is the recommended first-line medication for ovulation induction, a subsequent individual patient data meta-analysis also reported the same conclusion. Whether the new global guideline will be fully adopted by many specialists and change clinical practice is open to question. Further studies are needed to better understand and manage PCOS patients well.


Hirsutism; Hyperandrogenism; Infertility; Ovulation induction; Polycystic ovary syndrome
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