Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder affecting women of reproductive age, characterised by a combination of symptoms that can impact menstrual function, fertility, skin and hair, and metabolic processes.

PCOS is often associated with enlarged ovaries that contain numerous small cysts, insulin resistance, and elevated levels of male hormones (androgens), leading to a variety of health and cosmetic concerns. Understanding PCOS is the first step towards managing its symptoms and mitigating its impact on your health and quality of life.

Statistics & Risk Factors

PCOS affects approximately 10% of women worldwide, making it one of the most common endocrine disorders among women of childbearing age.

Despite its prevalence, over half of women with PCOS are undiagnosed, partly due to the variability of symptoms and the lack of a standardised diagnostic criterion. PCOS can increase the risk of several long-term health issues, including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer, underscoring the importance of early diagnosis and management.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

The symptoms of PCOS can vary significantly from one individual to another, but commonly include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), acne, scalp hair thinning, and weight gain. Many women with PCOS also struggle with infertility due to irregular ovulation or anovulation.

Diagnosing PCOS typically involves a combination of clinical evaluation, ultrasound imaging to visualise the ovaries, and blood tests to measure hormone levels. A diagnosis is usually made based on the presence of at least two of the following criteria: irregular menstrual cycles, signs of high androgen levels, and polycystic ovaries on ultrasound.

Treatment & Management

While there is no cure for PCOS, a range of treatments can help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Treatment plans are tailored to the individual’s symptoms, their severity, and the person’s fertility goals.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Weight optimisation through a balanced diet and regular exercise can improve the body’s insulin sensitivity, reduce androgen levels, and alleviate many PCOS symptoms.
  • Medication: Hormonal contraceptives can regulate menstrual cycles and reduce acne and hair growth. Metformin, a medication used to treat type-2 diabetes, can also help improve insulin resistance and ovulation. For those seeking to become pregnant, fertility medications may be prescribed to stimulate ovulation.
  • Cosmetic Treatments: For symptoms like hirsutism and acne, treatments such as laser hair removal, electrolysis, and specialised skincare regimens can be effective.
  • Surgical Options: In certain cases, surgical procedures like ovarian drilling (done at laparoscopic surgery) may be considered,

Support & Advocacy

Living with PCOS can be challenging, not just physically but emotionally and psychologically. Access to supportive communities, whether online or in-person, can provide valuable resources, encouragement, and advocacy for those affected. Education and awareness are key to improving diagnosis rates and treatment outcomes.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition that requires a multifaceted approach to management and treatment. By prioritising early diagnosis, personalised treatment plans, and supportive care, women with PCOS can lead healthy, fulfilling lives. As research continues to unravel the intricacies of PCOS, it is hoped that future advancements will offer even more effective solutions for those navigating this condition.


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