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Case studies

PCOS and thromboembolism: a complex case

Sally Reid, Robert J Norman

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Abstract

What are the diagnostic criteria for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and should treatment with the oral contraceptive pill continue following a thromboembolism?

Key Points

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) encompasses clinical and/or biochemical hyperandrogenism, hyperinsulinaemia, anovulation and polycystic ovaries.
  • The cornerstone of PCOS management is education on the immediate and future effects of this condition, with an emphasis on the positive benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
  • The oral contraceptive pill is a safe, effective treatment for patients with acne, hirsutism and menstrual irregularities.
  • Although use of the oral contraception pill is contraindicated in the setting of acute venous thromboembolism, its later use may be reconsidered after a thorough assessment of the risks and benefits and full informed consent.

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