Polycystic Ovaries - PERLA Health

Polycystic Ovaries

In some women, the ovaries may look like there are a lot of ovarian cysts on them – this appearance is sometimes called polycystic ovaries, looking like “string of pearls” on the ultrasound. These cysts however are follicles and not cysts per se. The appearance of at least 12 follicles or more in the ovaries, and/or a volume of more than 10 ml per ovary are one of the three diagnostic criteria for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), according to the Rotterdam Criteria.


  1. The Rotterdam ESHRE/ASRM-sponsored PCOS consensus workshop group. Revised 2003 consensus on diagnostic criteria and long-term health risks related to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Human Reprod. 2004;19(1): 41 – 47. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/19/1/41/690226
  2. NHS UK. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos/ (accessed 8. August 2020)
  3. Jonard S. et al. Ultrasound examination of polycystic ovaries: is it worth counting the follicles? Human Reproduction, Volume 18, Issue 3, March 2003, Pages 598–603 https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/18/3/598/626066

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