Polycystic Ovarian Morphology May Not Mean an Increased PCOS Risk


BOSTON — Women diagnosed with polycystic ovarian morphology and normal menstrual cycles do not appear to be at significant risk for developing polycystic ovary syndrome, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.

Researchers at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston followed 40 women with regular menstrual cycles and either polycystic or normal ovarian morphology to see which women would develop polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

The women were followed for 1.7–17.5 years after the initial ultrasound and given a follow-up ultrasound by the same ultrasonographic technician.

The researchers defined polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM) as either an ovary with 12 or more follicles, ranging in size from 2 mm to 10 mm, in a single plane or an ovarian volume of more than 10 mL without a dominant follicle.

At baseline, 17 women had normal morphology and 23 were diagnosed with PCOM.

The average age at baseline was 30, and the average age at follow-up was 38, according to Meagan K. Murphy, a medical student at Harvard University who presented the results of the study.

At follow-up, 1 of the 17 women with normal ovarian morphology at the beginning of the study had developed PCOM.

Of the 23 women who had PCOM at baseline, about half had PCOM at follow-up and the rest had converted to normal ovarian morphology, Ms. Murphy said.

In those women who developed normal ovarian morphology, their follicle and ovarian volume decreased significantly.

One woman who was classified as having PCOM at baseline was diagnosed with PCOS by her physician. However, her menses became regular with weight loss and the previous diagnosis of PCOS was not confirmed within the study.

The development of PCOS is uncommon in women with PCOM and regular cycles, the researchers concluded. And a normal drop in follicle number with aging may result in women with PCOM developing normal cycles over time, Ms. Murphy said.

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