What is PCOS?

Well, it’s complicated.

If you live with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you’ll know that when it’s at its worst, it can be utterly debilitating. It can be hard to get out of bed, let alone get out of the house. It can feel like your hormones are getting the better of you. But we hope we can break it down for you, because if you can understand it, you will be better equipped to manage it.

PCOS is a complex hormonal condition that affects around one in every ten women. ¹ It can cause problems with your periods and make it harder to get pregnant. As if that’s not enough, PCOS can also cause other symptoms, such as weight gain, acne, emotional problems (e.g., anxiety or depression, and mood changes), hair loss or unwanted hair growth on the face or body. If it isn't treated, over time it can also lead to serious health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. ¹

PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones (oestrogen and progesterone), which may contribute to inflammation of the ovaries.

In PCOS, there’s also an overproduction of insulin and androgen hormones (e.g., testosterone). High levels of these hormones can lead to weight gain, excess body or facial hair, and fertility problems. The cause of these hormonal imbalances isn’t fully understood. But genetics may be a factor as PCOS often runs in families.

So why is it complicated?

Well not all women with PCOS will have all of these symptoms. Your PCOS symptoms are as unique as you are and can change with age.

But don't worry, we’ve got you. You can make some changes to take control of your PCOS and get your life back. One step at a time. Remember, it's really important to be kind to yourself and to take your time when you are making changes to your life.