PCOS, despite its prevalence, often goes unrecognized or undiagnosed in a significant number of individuals. Studies indicate that a considerable portion of women with PCOS may not receive a formal diagnosis, leading to a lack of awareness about the condition. A critical aspect contributing to the underdiagnoses is the variability in symptoms and their manifestation, making it challenging for both individuals and healthcare professionals to identify PCOS promptly.
Dominique Stamps, MS, RDN, LDN is sharing more about the basics and surprising statistics about PCOS that you didn’t know.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a genetic, hormone, metabolic, and reproductive disorder that affects women.
What are some signs & symptoms of PCOS?
Signs & symptoms may include thinning scalp hair, infertility, hirsutism, irregular menstrual cycle, anxiety, depression, cysts on ovaries, oily skin, acne, skin tags, obesity, or acanthosis nigricans.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
Criteria for diagnosing PCOS must include at least two of the following:
- Hyperandrogenism, testosterone levels above normal range for a woman.
- Appearance of polycystic ovaries identified laparoscopically or by ultrasound.
- Erratic menstrual cycle history.
PCOS laboratory values above normal range may include:
Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH), Fasting blood glucose (FBG), Fasting insulin (FI), total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein (LDL), c-reactive protein (CRP).
PCOS supplementation to discuss with your primary care physician & dietitian may include:
Some research has shown supplementation for the management of PCOS to discuss with your primary care physician and dietitian may include Omega- 3, inositol, Vitamin D, and curcumin.
PCOS Facts & Research: Did you know?
Health conditions associated with PCOS include type 2 diabetes, mental health disorders, heart disease, and infertility.
Women with PCOS constitute the largest group of women at risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate more than 50% of women with PCOS will become diabetic or prediabetic before the age 40.
Losing 10% of your body weight can help make the menstrual cycle more regular and improve chances of getting pregnant.
Seventy-five percent of lean women and ninety-five percent of obese women with PCOS have insulin resistance.
Fifty percent of women with PCOS did not receive information regarding the long-term complications or emotional support.
Fifty percent of women saw three or more health professionals and one-third of women waited for more than two years before receiving a PCOS diagnosis.
Some women with PCOS may not develop ovarian cysts, while other women without PCOS will develop ovarian cysts.
It is estimated that fifty percent of women with PCOS are going undiagnosed
Ten to fifteen percent of women are estimated to have PCOS.
Additional PCOS Resources
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: PCOS FAQs
- American Family Physician: Diagnosis & Treatment of PCOS
- PCOS Challenge: Support Network
- PCOS Awareness Association (pcosaa.org)
- Up To Date: Treatment of PCOS
- PCOS Nutrition Center: Supplements & Nutrition