Diagnosis and Treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Primary Care

Published:September 18, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2021.08.008


      • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects 6% to 18% of women of reproductive age.
      • PCOS is a serious genetic, hormonal, metabolic, and reproductive disturbance responsible for infertility, hyperandrogenism, and insulin resistance during reproductive years.
      • Many health care providers often fail to diagnose PCOS and, instead, simply treat individual complaints.
      • Timely diagnosis and management of PCOS can decrease the incidence of associated complications.


      Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects between 6% and 18% of women of reproductive age worldwide. This syndrome can lead to female hyperandrogenism, insulin resistance, and female infertility. The Rotterdam criteria is used to improve timely diagnosis and treatment. A detailed physical examination, laboratory testing, and ultrasound imaging help diagnose this condition. Treatment is based on individual needs and should include lifestyle modifications, medication, health screening, and patient education. The goal of care should be to provide an accurate diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome so that a treatment plan can be developed and implemented based on individual needs.


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      April C. Tremblay-Davis, DNP, APRN, NP-C, CCRN, is a family nurse practitioner at Valley Medical Group, in Amherst, MA, and can be contacted at [email protected] .


      Sharon L. Holley, DNP, CNM, FACNM, is the chief, Division of Midwifery at Baystate Medical Center, in Springfield, MA, is an associate professor of medicine for University of Massachusetts Medical School-Baystate, and teaches within the Baystate Midwifery Education Program.


      Laurie A. Downes, PhD, RN, is an associate professor of nursing at Elms College in Chicopee, MA.