Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Facts and Misconceptions


Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is an endocrine disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It impacts up to five million women in the U.S., but its causes are still unknown, and there is currently no cure for the disorder. It is one of the main causes of infertility, and it manifests itself through irregular periods, absence of periods, a higher count of male hormones, acne, thinner scalp hair, and multiple ovarian cysts—although different women may have different symptoms. There are a lot of myths surrounding the disorder. Many women with PCOS have been told that they can’t get pregnant, but according to Dr. Kara Ehlers, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, that is not true: it is rare, but it can happen. PCOS also doesn’t disappear after menopause, and it’s important to address all of its symptoms, as they might be signs of other serious medical conditions. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome often need to self-advocate to receive the appropriate care, but Dr. Kara Ehlers assures that once it is addressed it can be manageable. She also encourages women living with the disorder to share their stories and bring awareness to PCOS.

For Further Reading

PCOS is a lot more common than most women believe. If you or someone you know was diagnosed, know that you’re not alone! Here you can read about the experiences of different women living with PCOS.

Discussion Question

Why do you think that even though PCOS is so common, such little research has been done about it?

Action Item:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome still receives little recognition and understanding from the medical community. You can sign this petition to demand the NIH to recognize PCOS as a significant health concern that needs national attention and government support.  

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