This study was an attempt to determine whether the hormonal and clinical profiles of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or non-PCOS cases whose only admission signs were oligo/anovulation or hirsutism. This retrospective study comprised a total number of 118, age-matched, young Turkish women with initial admission signs and symptoms of menstrual disorders (MD) like oligo/anovulation or hirsutism. Of these, 66 cases were diagnosed as PCOS, based on 2003 Rotterdam criteria [presence of two of first three criteria such as oligo- and/or anovulation, signs of clinical hyperandrogenism (HA-c) and/or biochemical signs of hyperandrogenism (HA-b) and polycystic ovaries on ultrasonography after exclusion of specific identifiable disorders]. Fifty-two women were diagnosed as cases of oligo/anovulation or hirsutism before the era of PCOS Rotterdam's consensus criteria. These two PCOS and non-PCOS cases were evaluated in terms of body mass index (BMI), waist-to-hip ratio, serum FSH, LH, estradiol (E2), dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS), androstendione (A) 17 hydroxyprogesterone (17-HP), fasting insulin, C-peptide levels, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and finally, ultrasonographic ovarian morphology. PCOS cases with unilateral and bilateral polycystic ovarian morphology on ultrasound scan were analyzed based on Rotterdam criteria. No statistically significant difference was detected among two groups, in terms of BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, serum FSH, LH, E2, fasting insulin, C-peptide levels (P > 0.05). However, blood levels of DHEAS, A and 17-HP were higher, whilst SHBG levels were remarkably lower (P = 0.008) in PCOS cases. Among PCOS group, hormonal and clinical characteristics did not differ, irrespective or uni- or bilaterality of ovarian morphology on ultrasonographic scan. Percentages of cases with androgenic alopecia, oily skin/acnea and increased ovarian volume were higher in PCOS group; whereas Ferriman-Gallwey score >/= 8 were similar between two groups. Total but not free testosterone remained high in PCOS group (P < 0.01). In both PCOS and non-PCOS cases, a linear correlation was apparent between BMI and insulin levels (r (s)= 0.69 and 0.32, P < 0.05, respectively). Among PCOS group, MD + HA-b + HA-c (n = 40) was present in 60.6% of subjects, MD + HA-b (n = 12) in 18.2%, and MD + HA-c (n = 14) in 21.2%. The three phenotypes did not differ in mean BMI, waist-to-hip ratio and biochemical characteristics. To conclude, non-PCOS women with only sign or symptom of oligo/anovulation or hirsutism had a more favorable endocrine milieu. These cases should be followed in vigilance in an aim to confront the development of short- and long-term adverse effects of impending PCOS in the future. Furthermore, different phenotypes of PCOS cases were clinically or biochemically similar in characteristics.