Research has at last turned its focus on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that affects up to 13% of women. Spearheaded by Australia’s Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation at Monash University, the International PCOS Guideline for 2023 has been launched. This benchmark document, a collaboration involving 100+ experts and patients from 71 countries, is published in four esteemed international journals.
The Guideline emphasises the need for a revised approach to PCOS, formerly misconstrued primarily as a reproductive ailment, despite its implications on metabolic, psychological, and pregnancy health. It now offers recommendations concerning diagnosis, wellbeing, fertility, lifestyle, and treatment, addressing a wide range of health needs associated with PCOS.
Noteworthy shifts in diagnosis include prioritising hormone tests over ultrasounds and recognising implications beyond reproductive health, like weight issues, diabetes, heart disease, and mental health.
PCOS is not only the foremost cause of infertility among women but also carries an estimated healthcare cost of $800 million annually in Australia. Professor Helena Teede, the driving force behind this initiative, accentuates the necessity to confront the unique challenges posed by PCOS. The Guideline dispels misconceptions about the condition, particularly concerning weight, aiming to support affected women and diminish the associated stigma.
Building on its 2018 predecessor, the 2023 Guideline strives for timely diagnosis, accessibility of information, and enhanced education and care models. Professor Teede consolidated expertise from 100+ PCOS specialists from around the world in this endeavour.
Moreover, the AskPCOS Patient App, a crucial digital tool, facilitates the Guideline’s objectives, benefiting 45,000 users across 193 countries. This initiative’s funders include the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Women’s Health in Reproductive Life and the Medical Research Future Fund, with co-founding by various global medical organisations.
The global community, led by Australia, is finally ushering in an era where women with PCOS receive the comprehensive care they rightly deserve.