What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects around 10-20% of women, non-binary, and trans men worldwide. Yet, unless you have been diagnosed or someone has shared their diagnosis with you, it is likely you have never heard of it. With long-term risk factors of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, PCOS needs to become a public health priority.

Given our lack of knowledge on the syndrome, it is often surprising that PCOS is the most common female reproductive condition and the leading cause of female infertility. It has even been identified as “The Thief of Womanhood“.

Unfortunately, there is not one standard set of criteria for defining PCOS. However, it is often diagnosed if you have any two of the following three symptoms (after excluding other conditions, too):

  • oligo- or amenorrhea (infrequent or no periods)
  • hyperandrogenism (increased facial/body hair OR elevated androgens on bloodwork)
  • polycystic ovaries (small fluid-filled sacs on ovaries)

People also often experience:

  • unexplainable weight gain and/or obesity
  • insulin resistance
  • dyslipidemia
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • eating disorders
  • hair loss
  • acne

Long-term complications can include:

  • type 2 diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • metabolic syndrome
  • endometrial hyperplasia
  • endometrial cancer
  • ovarian cancer

More information can be found in my Ph.D. thesis here.

In addition, I have published the following articles:

Low intakes of dietary fiber and magnesium are associated with insulin resistance and hyperandrogenism in polycystic ovary syndrome: A cohort study.

A randomized controlled trial comparing lifestyle intervention to letrozole for ovulation in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a study protocol.