September is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects 1 in 10 women. It is one of the most common human disorders and the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder and cause of infertility in women.

It can lead to lifelong complications, psychosocial disorders, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, endometrial cancer and other serious and life-threatening conditions.

There is no exact cause of PCOS. Women have a higher chance of getting it if they have obesity or have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.

Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
  • Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.3
  • Acne on the face, chest, and upper back
  • Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
  • Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
Important Facts and Research Regarding PCOS

  • PCOS is a complex hormonal, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects up to 15% of women.
  • PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women.
  • Women with PCOS constitute the largest group of women at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate more than 50% of women with PCOS will become diabetic or prediabtic before age 40.
  • Some studies have shown women with PCOS to be at three times higher risk for endometrial cancer and may also be at increased risk for ovarian and breast cancer.
  • Some studies have shown due to symptoms of anxiety and depression, suicide attempts are up to seven times more common in women with PCOS than other women.
  • Pre-teens and teens can develop PCOS. Earlier diagnosis can give them the opportunity to better manage the emotional, internal and physical effects of PCOS. It can also help them prevent the onset of more serious illnesses related to PCOS.
  • Despite affecting millions of women and the serious health consequences, PCOS is unknown to most people and a staggering 50% of the women living with PCOS are going undiagnosed.

 

(https://pcosawarenessmonth.org/)

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