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Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects about one in 10 women. This condition is associated with increased levels of two hormones in the body – insulin and androgens (male-type hormones) – that cause symptoms such as irregular periods, excessive facial and body hair, pimples, weight gain. It may also increase the risk of developing a range of health conditions. PCOS is more common in some high-risk groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.

Learn more about PCOS symptoms, causes, health risks and treatments. Plus practical ways to improve your physical health and emotional wellbeing.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age. It affects about one in 10 women and is more common in women from high-risk groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. PCOS is associated with increased levels of insulin and androgens (male-type hormones) in your body. Learn more about PCOS symptoms and causes. Read more
If you think you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), it’s important you see your doctor. You might be referred to a specialist, such as an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) or gynaecologist for more detailed assessments. An early diagnosis and support from a team of specialists can help manage the symptoms of PCOS and reduce the risk of long-term health problems. Learn more about how PCOS is diagnosed. Read more
If you are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), it’s important to work with your doctor and a medical team to manage your symptoms and improve your long-term health outcomes. Women with PCOS may have a range of symptoms that require different treatments. Depending on your symptoms, you can seek help from a range of healthcare professionals, including an endocrinologist, gynaecologist, dietitian, dermatologist, exercise physiologist, fertility specialist and psychologist. Your doctor can help coordinate your care and refer you to specialists where needed. Learn how to treat and manage common PCOS symptoms. Read more
More than 70% of women with PCOS in Australia use natural and complementary therapies to improve one or more aspects of their health.[1] Research reports that women with PCOS use these therapies most commonly to improve their general wellbeing and to treat the PCOS symptoms of infertility and depression.[1] The natural remedies most often used include supplements, such as vitamins, minerals and fish oils, and herbal medicine in the forms of teas, tablets or liquid. The types of treatments and remedies used in natural and complementary therapies are often influenced by the main concern(s) of the woman; for example, the treatment for excess hair growth might be different from a treatment used to improve fertility. There is some emerging research on some natural therapies for the management of PCOS. It’s important to note that many of these research findings are preliminary. This means that larger – and more robust – studies are needed before any conclusions can be made in regard to the treatments’ effectiveness in women with PCOS. Read more
Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have children naturally, but some need medical help to get pregnant. Learn how to improve your chances of becoming pregnant and ways to reduce potential risks during pregnancy. Read more
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can increase the risk of developing a range of health conditions. Read more
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can affect your physical health and emotional wellbeing. It may also impact your relationships and sexual desire. Learn practical ways to improve your physical health and emotional wellbeing. Read more

This con­tent has been reviewed by a group of med­ical sub­ject mat­ter experts, in accor­dance with Jean Hailes pol­i­cy.