4 myths about polycystic ovary syndrome – and why they’re wrong

4 myths about polycystic ovary syndrome – and why they’re wrong

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition. When using the definition supported by the international guidelines, it affects just under one in six young Australian women.

To meet the diagnostic criteria of PCOS, women need to have two of the following three criteria:

  • irregular periods
  • signs of increased levels of androgens (hormones that give “male” characteristics) such as excess hair growth, acne or hair loss
  • enlarged ovaries with lots of small follicles containing immature eggs (known as polycystic ovaries).

But polycystic ovaries aren’t ovaries with cysts. And having polycystic ovaries doesn’t mean you have PCOS.

Our new research among women and clinicians found confusion over the name PCOS, limited evidence about the condition, and large amount of misinformation online fed into common misconceptions about PCOS.

These myths and assumptions are harming women and standing in the way of appropriate health care.

Myth #1: Single symptoms indicate you have PCOS

PCOS is a ...

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