The metabolic cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors of women with self-reported oligomenorrhea and/or hirsutism, which are symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), were investigated in a general population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study to determine whether women with PCOS symptoms at 31 yr would be distinguishable from asymptomatic controls in terms of CVD risk factors. A total of 518 cases with oligomenorrhea and/or hirsutism and 1036 randomly selected controls were analyzed. C-Reactive protein (CRP; median, 0.70 vs. 0.60 mg/liter; P = 0.026), triglycerides (mean, 0.97 vs. 0.91 mmol/liter; P = 0.039), body mass index (BMI; mean, 25.1 vs. 24.2 kg/m(2); P or=30 kg/m(2)) groups, the waist/hip ratio was significantly higher among the overweight cases (mean, 0.84 vs. 0.83; P = 0.04). Among the obese women, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was significantly lower (mean, 1.32 vs. 1.48 mmol/liter; P = 0.002) among the cases, and triglycerides tended to be higher (mean, 1.43 vs. 1.27 mmol/liter; P = 0.068) than in controls. In conclusion, these results indicate that self-reported symptoms of oligomenorrhea and/or hirsutism, particularly in the presence of both symptoms, may be helpful to identify women with metabolic cardiovascular risk factor accumulation associated with PCOS.