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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

A little while back I did a post on endometriosis a reproductive illness that causes many women to become infertile. Today, keeping with that same theme of reproduction and the lack there of, I would like to shed light on another similar issue…. It's called… Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

I have to admit, as a public health professional with background in reproductive health, PCOS was unfamiliar to me until I was speaking with a co-worker who was telling me of a friend of hers that has PCOS and has suffered many complications due to this illness. Immediately I went and did my research. See, I have an interest in these sort of things and while I have no reproductive issues, I have a big heart for those who does. Sometimes we take for granted those things that come natural for some (such as reproduction) but not as natural for others.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health problem that can affect a woman's:

•Menstrual cycle

•Ability to have children



•Blood vessels


It is estimated that 1 in 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS. As many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. It can occur in girls as young as 11 years old effecting reproduction later in life. While an exact cause is unknown, research has showed that genetics, hormonal imbalance such as androgens, male hormones that females also make and high levels of these hormones affect the development and release of eggs during ovulation. Excess insulin has also been linked to the increase production of androgens that causes an increase chance of developing PCOS.

If you are experiencing any of the common symptoms such as:

•Infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.

•Infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods

•Cysts on the ovaries

•Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist

•Patches of skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs that are thick and dark brown or black

•Skin tags — excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area

•Pelvic pain

•Sleep apnea — when breathing stops for short periods of time while asleep

Please see your medical provider for further testing. Again, While PCOS causes many women the inability and difficulty of having children and even causes the feeling of worriedness, embarrassment or lack of confidence to have children… getting treatment and becoming aware can help with the process.

For more information please contact:

For more information about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), call at 800-994-9662 (TDD: 888-220-5446 or visit the website at:


Women's Health. Org

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