Adolescence and Early Adulthood

The Mayo Clinic Women's Health Research Center studies a variety of conditions that affect women's health during adolescence and early adulthood.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition of testosterone-like hormone excess that affects a woman's fertility and increases her risk of diabetes. PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women before menopause, affecting 10 to 20 percent of women in the U.S. and worldwide. As many as 1 out of 5 of our mothers, sisters and daughters have PCOS.

Investigators in the Mayo Clinic Women's Health Research Center are working to identify unique diabetes risk or insulin resistance in women with PCOS that can lead to the development of obesity, diabetes and other heart disease risk factors.

Their studies will not only help develop new and better treatments for PCOS but also might also lead to the prevention of diabetes and heart disease in other women who don't have PCOS but are at higher risk of diabetes. In women specifically, diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in women.

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a condition of fainting when going from a sitting to a standing position. POTS often occurs in young women in their late teens to early 20s. Investigators in the Mayo Clinic Women's Health Research Center are trying to determine the causes of this condition in order to better customize and optimize treatment.

Sports injuries: Anterior cruciate ligament knee injuries and concussions

Faculty members in the Mayo Clinic Women's Health Research Center are studying sex-based differences in sports-related injuries to help protect young athletes and to learn how to prevent long-term consequences related to these injuries.

Girls and young women experience two to 10 times the number of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) knee injuries than do boys and young men who participate in the same sports. The reasons for this have to do with differences in how the ligaments that hold the bones together are attached and affected by sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone). Young women who experience ACL injuries are at high risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee within one to two decades.

Female athletes are also at higher risk of concussions and experience more symptoms and slower recoveries. It is not known how head injuries may affect memory as women age. Mayo Clinic researchers are studying the prevention and effects of these injuries.