PCOS - Facts
- PCOS is the most common hormone disorder of women of reproductive age, affecting 5-20% (depending on populations studied and definitions used)
- PCOS is the number one cause of female infertility
- PCOS affects over 7 million people. That’s more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined
- Up to 50% of PCOS patients may suffer from weight issues and be overweight or obese, and have trouble losing weight. At least 50% of patients with PCOS will be of normal weight.
- Weight reduction of even 5-10% can help restore ovulation in some women
- Women with PCOS have a 4x greater risk of disordered eating behavior and 60% of obese women with PCOS could be categorized as having binge-eating behavior.
- Insulin resistance can be present in 25-75% of PCOS patients. More than 50% of women with PCOS will have diabetes or become pre-diabetic before the age of 40. PCOS patients have a 5-7x higher risk of diabetes. 8-10% already have diabetes with PCOS diagnosis. 1/3 of those with pre-diabetes will progress to diabetes.
- 30% of PCOS patients will have a normal Hemoglobin A1c or fasting blood sugar but still show signs of insulin resistance with elevated blood sugar readings on a 2 hour glucose tolerance test
- The risk of heart attack is 4 to 7 times higher for women with PCOS, by age group, than those without PCOS.
- Women with PCOS have an increased risk of high blood pressure.
- Elevated levels of LDL-C (bad cholesterol) and reduced levels of HDL-C (good cholesterol) are typically demonstrated in women with PCOS.
- Irregular menstrual cycles and lack of ovulation can cause changes in hormone levels, resulting in thickening of the endometrium causing heavy or irregular bleeding. Over time, this excessive growth can lead to endometrial hyperplasia and cancer. Women with PCOS have a 2-7x higher risk of uterine cancer. Certain studies have indicated a 9% lifetime risk of uterine cancer
- Some patients with PCOS still get regular menses (in women with PCOS that are getting regular periods, 25% are not actually ovulating).
- Women with PCOS often develop sleep apnea accompanied by periods of cessation of breathing. Sleep apnea may occur in up to 50% of PCOS patients
- 27-50% of those with PCOS experience anxiety and depression
- Fertility declines significantly in those with a BMI >30 kg/m2 and age more than 35 years
- Almost 50% of women saw three or more health care professionals and 1/3 waited two or more years before being diagnosed with PCOS. Up to 70% of women with PCOS remain undiagnosed
As someone who may be experiencing PCOS symptoms the most important thing you can do is be evaluated by a specialist. Your quality of life and the ability to participate in the things you want to do with the ones you love is a motivating factor for anyone. We are here to help.