Prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in first-degree relatives of patients with PCOS

Melissa D. Kahsar-Miller, Christa Nixon, Larry R. Boots, Rodney C. Go, Ricardo Azziz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

288 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the rate of clinically evident polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among first-degree female relatives within families with a proband affected by PCOS. Design: Clinical and biochemical evaluation of the mothers and sisters of 93 patients with PCOS. The diagnosis of PCOS was established by: [1] a history of oligomenorrhea, [2] clinical evidence (i.e., hirsutism) or biochemical evidence (i.e., elevated total or free T) of hyperandrogenism, and [3] the exclusion of related disorders. Setting: Tertiary care university. Patient(s): Patients with PCOS and their mothers and sisters.Intervention(s): Interview, physical examination, and hormonal testing on blood samples were performed for all subjects. Main Outcome Measure(s): The presence of hirsutism and hyperandrogenemia was determined in the mothers and sisters of the patients with PCOS. Result(s): Of the 78 mothers and 50 sisters evaluated clinically, 19 (24%) and 16 (32%) were affected with PCOS, respectively. A higher rate of PCOS was observed when only premenopausal women not taking hormones (i.e., untreated) were considered (i.e., 35% of mothers and 40% of sisters), consistent with amelioration of symptoms with hormonal therapy or aging. These rates of PCOS are significantly higher than that observed in our general population (approximately 4%) and suggest the involvement of a major genetic component in the disorder. Conclusion(s): The rates of PCOS in mothers and sisters of patients with PCOS were 24% and 32%, respectively, although the risk was higher when considering untreated premenopausal women only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalFertility and sterility
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Androgens
  • Genetics
  • Hirsutism
  • Inheritance
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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