Journal List > J Korean Soc Endocrinol > v.20(2) > 1063768

Byun, Kim, Oh, Hong, and Sung: The Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in College Students from Seoul



Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by the presence of chronic anovulation and hyperandrogenism, The prevalence of PCOS in premenopausal women of about 5~ 10%. There may be significant ethnic and racial variations in the prevalence and clinical presentation of PCOS. The current study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of PCOS and to identify the clinical characteristics of PCOS in Korea.


From March 2003 to March 2004, medical students from Ewha Womans University were investigated for the prevalence of PCOS. The evaluation included a history and physical examination, a modified Ferriman-Gallwey hirsutism score and screening for hyperandrogenemia. PCOS was diagnosed by the presence of the following: 1) oligomenorrhea, 2) hyperandrogenemia and/or hirsutism (a modified Ferriman-Gallwey score≥6), and 3) the exclusion of related disorders. Hyperandrogenemia was defined as a free testosterone level above the 95th percentile of that for normal cycling nonhirsute women.


Out of 492 students, 386 replied to the questionnaire and 203 students (19~31 yr of age) participated in the physical examination and blood sampling. Eumenorrhea without hirsutism was present in 133 students (65.5%), oligomenorrhea was present in 39 students (19.2%), hyperandrogenism was present in 21 students (10.3%) and hirsutism was present in 3 (1.5%) of the 203 women. The prevalence of PCOS was 4.9% (10 of 203 students), and only 2 of 10 women with PCOS were hirsute. The mean body mass index of students with PCOS was 22.7 ± 4.3 kg/m2, and two women was obese.
The plasma insulin levels during the 75 g oral glucose tolerance test in women with PCOS was significantly higher when compared to the age and body mass index of the controls.


The prevalence of PCOS was 4.9% in college students from Seoul. This rate is similar to those rates reported by other investigators in Greece (6.7%) and United States (4%). Obesity and hirsutism are not common in Korean women with PCOS. We are planning to survey a more diverse age groups to determine the prevalence of PCOS.

Figures and Tables

Fig. 1
Prevalence of PCOS
HA; hyperandrogenemia, OM; oligomenorrhea, PCOS; polycystic ovary syndrome
Fig. 2
Mean Plasma Glucose and Insulin Levels during 75g Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
*, P<0.05 vs. control
Table 1
Clinical Characteristics of Subjects

Data are means ± S.D.

HA; hyperandrogenemia, OM; oligomenorrhea, BMI; body mass index, WHR; waist to hip ratio, F-G score; Ferriman-Gallwey score, Free T; free testosterone, FPG; fasting plasma glucose

*P < 0.05 vs. normal, HA and OM, P<0.05 vs. normal and OM

Table 2
Characteristics of Women with PCOS

BMI; body mass index, WHR; waist to hip ratio, F-G score; Ferriman-Gallwey score, Free T; free testosterone

Table 3
The Family History of Subjects

HA; hyperandrogenemia, OM; oligomenorrhea


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