Update on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: What Dermatology Nurses and Nurse Practitioners Need to Know

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Abstract

Purpose

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the most common endocrine disorder in reproductive-aged women. Polycystic ovary syndrome affects approximately 6%–15% of women or about 5–6 million women living in the United States. Dermatology is an entry point in the healthcare system for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The purpose of this update is to provide dermatology nurses and nurse practitioners with the latest evidence-based guidance for the assessment, diagnosis, and management of polycystic ovary syndrome.

Relevance

Polycystic ovary syndrome occurs worldwide in all ethnic and racial groups. Unfortunately, about 50%–75% of women with the condition are not diagnosed. Dermatology nurses and nurse practitioners are key players in the early diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome because of the cutaneous manifestations including acne, hirsutism, and androgenic alopecia.

Essential Points

This update provides clinical information on the following points about polycystic ovary syndrome: epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnostic criteria, clinical presentation, laboratory testing, comorbidities, management including nonpharmacological and pharmacological interventions, and nursing implications for dermatology nurses and nurse practitioners. This knowledge will help dermatology nurses and nurse practitioners provide expert nursing care for their patients with polycystic ovary syndrome.

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