The prevalence and phenotypic manifestations of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among infertile Sudanese women: a cross-sectional study

Background Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a global health problem associated with significant morbidity during reproductive age. Only a few published studies that address the clinical manifestations and phenotypic presentation of the disease have been conducted in Africa, including Sudan. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the clinical and biochemical presentation of the different PCOS phenotypes among infertile Sudanese women. Methods A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted from January to December 2019. A total of 368 infertile women with PCOS (based on the Rotterdam criteria) were recruited from a fertility center in Khartoum, Sudan. Clinical, hormonal, and ultrasonographic characteristics were described and compared between the four phenotypes of PCOS. Results Majority (321 [87.2%]) of the women had oligo/anovulation (OA). Polycystic ovary morphology on ultrasound appeared in 236 (64.1%) women, acne in 171 (46.5%) women, acanthosis nigricans in 81 (22.0%) women, and hirsutism in 101 (27.4%) women. Phenotype D was the most prevalent among infertile Sudanese women (51.6%), followed by phenotype B (22.6%), phenotype C (18.2%), and phenotype A (7.6%). No statistical differences in the body mass index and hormonal profile between the four phenotypes were noted. Women with phenotype A were older and had high mean blood pressure, and a higher waist/hip ratio was observed among women with phenotype D. Conclusion Unlike the global distribution of PCOS phenotypes, Sudanese women uniquely expressed phenotype D as the most prevalent. More epidemiological studies are needed in the region due to geographical, ethnic, and genetic variations.

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