Objective: To understand whether polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM) represents a transient phase, and whether an increased stroma could help to characterize the phenotype of the ovary in adolescence.
Methods: Cross-sectional population-based study on high-school students in Cagliari, Italy.
The study population consisted of 257 normocyclic non-hyperandrogenic girls selected from a sample of 600 healthy volunteers recruited from 2012 to 2016. Clinical examination, medical history, blood sampling, and pelvic ultrasound (US) were performed. Postmenarchal years and body mass index (BMI) were estimated. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), 17β estradiol (E2), total testosterone (tT), delta-4-androstenedione (A), and 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) were measured. Ovarian volume, follicular number per section (FNPS), and S/A ratio were measured by pelvic US.
Results: Following the Rotterdam guidelines for US PCOS diagnosis and setting the normal S/A ratio at ≤0.3, subjects were categorized into 3 groups: (1) normal ovarian morphology (NOM; n=154, 60%); (2) polycystic ovarian morphology (PCOM) with normal S/A ratio (PCOM- NS; n=70, 27%); and (3) PCOM with increased S/A ratio (PCOM-IS; n=33, 13%). The NOM group had more postmenarchal years and a lower LH than both the PCOM groups, and lower A and tT than the PCOM-IS group. The PCOM-NS group had fewer postmenarchal years and lower A than the PCOM-IS group. Interestingly, unlike NOM and PCOM-NS, the prevalence of PCOM-IS remained constant among the 3 phases of postmenarchal age (10% vs 16% vs 15%, P = not significant).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that PCOM can be a transient condition, whereas a high S/A ratio is a stable US alteration present from early postmenarchal years.
Key Words: Polycystic ovarian morphology, Stroma/total area ratio, Adolescence, Ovarian morphology