Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2012

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Anthony Tagliaferro


The purpose of this paper is to present a review of the current research on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of reproductive age, affecting 5-10% of the population. Despite its prevalence, PCOS remains largely under unknown. This review has been broken down into two separate chapters. The first is the pathogenesis and related health consequences of PCOS. This chapter focuses on the diagnosis of PCOS as well as the prevalence and incidence of the disease. It then delves into the pathogenesis with a focus on genetics, obesity, insulin resistance and birth weight. Lastly, the health consequences related to PCOS are discussed, with a focus on insulin resistance. The health outcomes reviewed include the metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and type II diabetes mellitus. The second chapter is a comparison of drug therapies and lifestyle modifications used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome. A short discussion on combination therapy is also included. By focusing on insulin resistance in treatment, it is possible to manage many of the symptoms of PCOS solely through lifestyle modifications. Although many questions remain surrounding polycystic ovary syndrome, this article provides a summary of the current research.