Irving Freiler Stein Sr. was a physician who studied women’s reproductive health during the twentieth century in the United States. In partnership with his colleague, Michael Leventhal, Stein identified a women’s reproductive disorder related to elevated male sex hormones, or androgens. The syndrome was originally called Stein-Leventhal syndrome and later known as polycystic ovarian syndrome. While studying the syndrome, Stein also helped establish a treatment for the condition, through the surgical removal of ovarian tissues. Stein identified the symptoms related to the condition polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal imbalance estimated to be the most common female reproductive disorder as of 2017.

In 1958, Irving Freiler Stein Sr. published “The Stein-Leventhal Syndrome: A Curable Form of Sterility” documenting his findings on the diagnosis and surgical treatment of Stein-Leventhal syndrome. Stein-Leventhal syndrome, later called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), affects the reproductive health of women. Common symptoms include excess body hair, a lack of menstrual cycle or amenorrhea, and infertility. As of 2017, polycystic ovarian syndrome is considered the most common reproductive health disorder among women in the United States. In his article, Stein argued that the means of treating infertility and menstruation issues in women with Stein-Leventhal syndrome prior to the 1950s were inferior to surgical removal of ovarian tissue. “The Stein-Leventhal Syndrome: A Curable Form of Sterility” offered a brief view of Stein’s findings over his three decades of research on the syndrome and his opinion on why surgery was the only means of treating the syndrome. The paper’s conclusions allowed later physicians to further their research on the uses of other surgical techniques and medicine to aid in treating the symptoms of the syndrome.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is one of the most common reproductive conditions in women, and its symptoms include cystic ovaries, menstrual irregularities, and elevated androgen or male sex hormone levels. During the 1930s, Irving Freiler Stein and Michael Leventhal identified the syndrome and its symptoms. Women who experience symptoms of PCOS may also experience secondary symptoms, including infertility and diabetes. Though estimates vary and the causes of the syndrome are not clear as of 2017, PCOS affects approximately ten percent of women of reproductive age. Women who suspect they have symptoms of PCOS should see a doctor, as early treatment may help prevent long-term implications such as infertility, diabetes, and some types of cancers.

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