Sisters with PCOS – Is There A Connection?

PCOS BlogGirls with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) typically want to know what causes it. We know that PCOS is the result of an imbalance in the hormones (chemical messengers) in the brain and the ovaries, and it usually happens when a hormone called LH (made in the pituitary gland) or levels of insulin (made in the pancreas) are too high and the ovaries overreact to the stimulus by producing androgen. Scientists have been trying to figure out if there is in fact a gene responsible for PCOS. If there is, it could explain why multiple family members may have it.

What we know right now is that PCOS tends to run in families. One research study evaluated over 200 sisters of 125 females who had been diagnosed with PCOS and found that 70.5 percent also had it, although symptoms weren’t always exactly the same. So, what does this mean if you have a sister? It means that if your sister has: irregular periods that come every few months, not at all or too frequently, extra hair on her face or other parts of her body, acne, weight gain +/or trouble losing weight, and/or patches of darkened skin on the back of her neck and other areas, she should see her health care provider and get checked for PCOS. Early diagnosis and treatment can control symptoms and lessen the chance of getting diabetes or other complications later.

-Nurse Phaedra