Journal List > Endocrinol Metab > v.26(3) > 1085885

Sung: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Korean Women: Clinical Characteristics and Diagnostic Criteria


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common disorder of premenopausal women, affecting 4 to 8% of this population. Diagnosis of PCOS lays on a combination of clinical, biological and ultrasound criteria that has been used variably worldwide. The phenotype of women with PCOS is variable depending on ethnic background and diagnostic criteria may rely on it. Fewer studies have extensively examined reproductive and metabolic characteristics and hyperandrogenism in Korean women. Despite the paucity of these studies, they are critical for the ascertainment of criteria for the diagnosis of PCOS. This review address the issues pertaining to diagnostic issues of PCOS in Korean women, specifically: reproductive and metabolic derangements and criteria for hyperandrogenism based on hirsutism and serum androgen concentrations. The prevalence (estimated) of PCOS in Korean women was 5.8%. To diagnose PCOS, the cut off value for hirsutism needs to be differently adjusted in Korean women. Regarding phenotypic characteristics of PCOS in Korean women, the various phenotypes of PCOS have the different overall morbidity (e.g. insulin resistance and hyperinsulinism, abnormal glucose metabolism and metabolic syndrome). Especially patients with oligomenorrhea/polycystic ovary and hyperandrogenism/polycystic ovary did not seem to have metabolic derangements. Thus these subgroups need to be determined if they can be classified as PCOS.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Various diagnostic criteria of polycystic ovary syndrome

PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome; NICHD, National Institute of Children's Health and Disease; AES, Androgen Excess Society; CAH, congenital adrenal hyperplasia; PCO, polycystic ovary.

Table 2
Reproductive characteristics of women with PCOS in Korean women by various diagnostic criteria

PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome; NICHD, National Institute of Children's Health and Disease; ESHRE, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology; AES, Androgen Excess Society; mFG, modified Ferriman-Gallewey; yr, year; US, ultrasonogram; PCO, polycystic ovary; Vol, volume; Rt, right; Lt, left.

Table 3
Metabolic characteristics of women with PCOS in Korean women by phenotypes

*p<0.05 vs. controls, p<0.05 vs. OM+PCO, p<0.05 vs. HA+PCO, §p<0.05 vs. OM+HA.

OM, oligomenorrhea; HA, hyperandrogenism; PCO, polycystic ovary; FPG, fasting plasma; PPG, postprandial glucose; FPI, fasting plasma insulin; PPI, postprandial insulin; TC, total cholesterol; TG, triglyceride; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; LDL, low-density lipoprotein.


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