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Day 14 of Our 31 Day Series of How Medicine Got It Wrong

PCOS: A Hormonal Hassle, butt There's Hope to Tackle!

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. PCOS is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, irregular menstrual cycles, and elevated levels of androgen hormones.

PCOS can present differently in different women, with some experiencing more severe symptoms than others. In addition to menstrual irregularities and androgen excess, PCOS can also cause weight gain, acne, hair loss, and hirsutism (excess hair growth).

PCOS is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including insulin resistance, inflammation, and an imbalance in the body's methylation cycle. Women with PCOS are more likely to develop diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer.

PCOS can have a significant impact on a woman's reproductive system and fertility. Women with PCOS may have difficulty ovulating, making it harder to conceive. In addition, PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles, making it more difficult to predict ovulation and time of intercourse.

PCOS is also associated with an increase in androgen hormones, which can affect the development of follicles and the production of estrogen. This can lead to a decrease in the number of viable eggs and an increased risk of miscarriage.

In addition to its effects on the reproductive system, PCOS is also associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because insulin resistance can lead to elevated blood glucose levels, damaging tissues and organs over time.

PCOS is often treated with a combination of lifestyle modifications and medications. Lifestyle modifications may include weight loss, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. Medications that are commonly used to treat PCOS include oral contraceptives, anti-androgen medications, and medications to improve insulin sensitivity.

It is important to note that there are several common myths about PCOS that are not supported by scientific evidence. For example, some people believe that PCOS is caused by poor hygiene, but this is not true. Other common myths include that all women with PCOS are overweight, that PCOS can be cured with diet alone, and that women with PCOS cannot get pregnant.

Finally, it's important to note that PCOS can also affect teens and women who have gone through menopause. In teens, PCOS can cause delayed puberty and irregular periods, and in menopausal women, it can cause changes in hormone levels and symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

If you think you may have PCOS, it's essential to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine the best course of treatment and provide support as you navigate the challenges of this hormonal disorder.

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  1. Image:PCOS-Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Maple Leaf Medical Centre

  2. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2018). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved from

  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Retrieved from

  4. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2017). Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Retrieved from

  5. Teede, H. J., Misso, M. L., Costello, M. F., Dokras, A., Laven, J., Moran, L., … Wong, C. (2018). Recommendations from the international evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Human Reproduction, 33(9), 1602–1618. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dey256

  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2019). What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)? Retrieved from

  7. Fiona ND. Heart, PCOS & MTHFR. Dr Fiona ND - Naturopathic Medicine & Acupuncture. Published April 23, 2019. Retrieved from

  8. Fiona ND. PCOS in Teens and Adolescence. Dr Fiona ND - Naturopathic Medicine & Acupuncture. Published November 15, 2018. Retrieved from

  9. Fiona ND. PCOS and Menopause. Dr Fiona ND - Naturopathic Medicine & Acupuncture. Published November 7, 2018. Retrieved from

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