Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 12-18% of women of reproductive age and up to 21% in some high-risk groups, such as Indigenous women. In these pages you will learn all about the signs and symptoms of PCOS, how it is diagnosed and what treatments are available to help. There is information on PCOS and irregular periods, acne, excess hair, hair loss, depression, anxiety, sex and relationships and other health problems associated with PCOS such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Read about the personal stories of women with PCOS and what helped them to deal with PCOS.
Symptoms & causes
The symptoms of PCOS include excess hair (hirsutism), scalp hair loss, acne, weight gain, difficulties with fertility, increased anxiety and depression and irregular or infrequent periods. There is also information on the possible causes of PCOS, and other health problems linked with PCOS.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
Learn about how PCOS is diagnosed, when to see your doctor and the tests your doctor might do to test for PCOS.
Management & treatment
Management and treatment of PCOS can include a range of things such as a healthy approach to diet and physical activity, medications and complementary therapies. The following information is a general introduction to the different ways you can manage and treat PCOS.
Irregular periods - management & treatment
Irregular periods can be a symptom of PCOS. Learn about what an irregular period is and the different ways to manage and treat irregular periods if you have PCOS including hormonal contraception, such as the oral contraceptive pill, and metformin.
Hair & acne - management & treatment
Excess hair, hair loss and acne are often symptoms of PCOS. Learn about the different ways to manage these symptoms including waxing, laser hair removal, electrolysis, hormonal contraceptives, drugs for insulin resistance and anti-androgen drugs.
Fertility - management & treatment
Below you will find information on the different ways to increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant if you are having difficulties with fertility. Learn about weight and fertility, monitoring ovulation, different medications you can try, ovulation induction, surgery and assisted reproductive technology.
Weight - management & treatment
It can be difficult to manage your weight when you have PCOS. Below you will find information on the influence of weight on PCOS symptoms, the benefits of preventing weight gain and different ways to manage weight loss.
Other health problems that have been linked to PCOS include information on prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and endometrial cancer. You can also learn about BMI (body mass index) and how to measure your BMI.
Depression and anxiety are common in women with PCOS. Learn about the effects of being diagnosed with PCOS on your mental and emotional health including mood, stress and body image. There is also information on what you can do if you find your mental and emotional health is affected by PCOS.
Sex & relationships
Symptoms of PCOS such as weight gain, excess hair, hair loss, acne and problems with fertility can impact on your relationships with others and your sex life. Helpful questions are included to assess whether PCOS has affected your sex life.
Having a healthy lifestyle can help with PCOS. The types of diet to follow, information on the role of carbohydrates, protein and glycaemic index are discussed. What to eat, and when to eat, types of exercise and how much exercise to do are also explored.