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    Everything you need to know about PCOS

    Published 26 May 2023
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Allison K. Rodgers
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Allison K. Rodgers, Reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist, obstetrician, and gynecologist, Fertility Centers of Illinois, Illinois, US
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    From acne to irregular periods, there are lots of symptoms linked to PCOS. Here’s the lowdown on the condition that affects one in 10 women globally.

    Your hormones are the messengers that send signals from one part of your body to another to tell it to complete different actions. They’re responsible for your menstrual cycle, physical growth, metabolism and development, and mood, among so many other things. These little chemicals are pretty amazing, and your body knows which ones to produce to trigger important processes. If your reproductive hormones are imbalanced, this can lead to a number of complications, including polycystic ovary syndrome (or PCOS).

    You might have heard the name PCOS before but weren’t sure what it is. That’s normal; you may not have been taught about it in health class, after all. It’s thought to be one of the most common hormone disorders. So to help you get the lowdown on PCOS, two Flo experts outline everything you need to know. 

    What is PCOS?

    PCOS is a common hormonal condition that is thought to impact between 8% and 13% of women of reproductive age in the United States alone. That’s around 5 million people.

    However, you might be curious as to what we mean by a hormonal condition. So, let's break PCOS down. 

    PCOS is a condition that affects your hormone levels and usually causes an imbalance in your androgen levels, sometimes called male hormones. This imbalance can impact how often you ovulate (when your ovaries release an egg for fertilization) and how frequent your periods are. Sometimes people who have PCOS have multiple small cysts that form on their ovaries. However, surprisingly, this isn’t always the case. You could be diagnosed with PCOS and never have cysts on your ovaries. 

    Keep reading to find out more about the three key symptoms that your doctor will look out for when diagnosing you with PCOS.

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    PCOS symptoms 

    Symptoms of PCOS can