Let's talk about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone disorder that affects people who have ovaries. People with PCOS may have high testosterone levels, irregular periods, and/or more ovarian follicles than usual (polycystic ovaries). Other common symptoms include irregular periods, weight gain, acne, oily skin, and excess hair growth on the face, chest, or other parts of the body.

Common symptoms of PCOS include polycystic ovaries (more ovarian follicles), hormone imbalance, irregular periods, acne and oily skin, and excess hair

How can PCOS impact your health?

PCOS can increase the risk for infertility and pregnancy-related complications. This condition is also associated with many different health conditions including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and endometrial cancer. Some people with PCOS also experience sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression.

For people with PCOS, it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional about the risk for these conditions in addition to reproductive concerns. Although there is no cure for PCOS, treatment plans — including medications and lifestyle modifications — can help manage the condition.

PCOS risk factors include infertility, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease

Is PCOS genetic?

Genetics do play a role in PCOS. This means some people may be more likely to have PCOS than others, depending on their genetics. PCOS can run in families, which means that a person has an increased chance of having PCOS if family members have the condition. In most cases, it is a combination of many different genetic variants that impact a person’s chances of having PCOS. Individually, each of these variants only has a small impact on a person’s genetic likelihood, but that impact can grow when many variants are considered together. 23andMe takes into account more than 1,300 genetic markers to estimate the likelihood of having PCOS.

How common is PCOS?

PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. It affects about 10% of females and is more common in those with a family history of the condition. Hormonal birth control can mask many of the symptoms, so some people with PCOS are not diagnosed through they stop taking birth control and have trouble getting pregnant.

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women, or 10% of females

Learn more about PCOS

Curious whether you have an increased likelihood of having PCOS based on your genetics? Find out more with the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome report (Powered by 23andMe Research), part of the 23andMe+ Premium membership. 23andMe+ Premium includes our Health + Ancestry Service plus new premium reports and features throughout the year. 

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Please note:

  • Because PCOS can only impact people who have ovaries, the report is only available to 23andMe+ members who report their birth sex as female in their Account Settings.
  • This report does not diagnose PCOS and should not be used to make medical decisions.
  • The report was developed by 23andMe scientists using data and insights gathered from thousands of customers who consent to participate in our research. Reports based on 23andMe research provide an estimate of your likelihood of developing a condition based on your genetics and other factors. This report does not account for lifestyle or family history.
  • The report does not account for every possible genetic variant that could affect your likelihood of having PCOS.


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