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What is PCOS?

PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)

PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is the most common endocrine disorders in young women. It affects the hormone levels in several body systems. And—most notably for those trying to conceive—it impacts the menstrual cycle, causing anovulation. During anovulation, while you may get your period, the ovary does not release an egg. Instead, the eggs that aren’t released stay in the ovary and form cysts. PCOS is more common in people who have a family history of the condition.1

Did you know?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Women in US Icon
5 Million

Estimated # of Women in US with PCOS1

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75%

of Women with PCOS are undiagnosed1

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50%

of Women with PCOS develop Type 2 Diabetes by age of 401

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6-12%

women of reproductive age in the U.S impacted with PCOS1

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS, support is available. And for many women with PCOS, pregnancy is still an option.

PCOS Diagnosis

PCOS can create a wide variety of symptoms, making it tough to diagnose.1 Some common signs that those with PCOS may experience are:

  • Irregular periods
  • Excess body and facial hair
  • Mood swings
  • Thinning of hair on the head
  • Trouble conceiving
  • Abnormal bleeding from the uterus
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Darkening patches of skin

PCOS symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated, so if any of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s a good idea to bring the subject up with your provider.1

Woman talking to healthcare provider

Try to answer the following questions regarding your overall health. And then schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of the described indicators. You can even take the checklist with you to your doctor.

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Struggling with Diagnosis 

There may be a relief in receiving a PCOS diagnosis, as it puts a name to what you have been going through and gives you a way forward. But it’s also understandable that you may need time to process the diagnosis. You may feel helpless, or even angry, to think your body is not behaving the way you’d like it to. And it can be frustrating to think some of this is beyond your control. With any new diagnosis, you have the power to advocate for your own health, and finding that power begins with educating yourself.1,3

PCOS, Pregnancy and Treatment

PCOS causes an excess of male hormones, called androgens, which can shift the menstrual cycle hormone levels and prevent the ovaries from releasing mature eggs (ovulating). Eggs that remain inside the ovaries are unable to be fertilized by sperm.

It is important to know that not everyone with PCOS experiences anovulation and this is only one way in which PCOS affects your health. Other common conditions in those with PCOS are metabolic syndrome including high cholesterol and insulin resistance, diabetes, and heart disease. Early and effective treatment is very important for your long term health.

There are many possible treatments for PCOS, and developing an individualized plan together with your provider can improve your health outcomes. 3

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Take charge of your reproductive health

You are not alone. There are millions of people working through the same symptoms as you and many providers who are prepared to help. Speak with your doctor about how to best support your body as you are trying to conceive.3


Find reproductive health and fertility support whether you're trying to conceive or just tracking.

If you have PCOS, it can be helpful to track your health indicators in an app like Ovia Fertility and Cycle Tracker. In Ovia, you can stay on top of all your symptoms — cycle irregularity, mood changes, and more — and identify patterns.

References

1. PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and Diabetes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed, April 19, 2022.

2. Wolf WM, Wattick RA, Kinkade ON, Olfert MD. Geographical Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome as Determined by Region and Race/Ethnicity. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(11):2589. Published 2018 Nov 20. doi:10.3390/ijerph15112589

3. Reproductive issues and conditions. PCOS. Oviahealth. Accessed, April 19, 2022.