September is recognized as PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) Awareness Month. According to the World Health Organization, it is believed to impact 116 million women worldwide. This month is dedicated to raising awareness, educating the public, and advocating through personal stories.

What is PCOS?

According to the CDC, PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting 6% to 12% (as many as 5 million) of US women of reproductive age. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome have a hormonal imbalance and metabolism problems that may affect their overall health and appearance. PCOS can stop ovulation and cause weight gain, irregular periods, acne, thinning scalp hair, sleep problems, and excess hair growth on the face and body.

What Causes PCOS?

Although there is no exact answer to what causes PCOS, there are many different factors that may be possible: family history of PCOS, insulin resistance, and environmental factors.

Does it Affect Fertility?

According to the PCOS Awareness Organization PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. However, not every woman with PCOS is the same. Although some people may need the assistance of fertility treatments, others are able to conceive naturally. Working with a doctor to talk through lifestyle changes, medical options, and other treatments is helpful  when trying to conceive. Women with PCOS have a higher rate of gestational diabetes, miscarriages, preterm deliveries and still births.

Other PCOS facts to know:

  • Women with PCOS constitute the largest group of women at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes*
  • PCOS can develop and be diagnosed as early as pre-teens
  • 50% of women with PCOS go undiagnosed*

PCOS is not one-size-fits-all and presents itself to women in many different ways. This month, will you join us in educating others, raising awareness, and advocating for those battling through PCOS?