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Cause of polycystic ovary syndrome discovered at last



The most common cause of female infertility – polycystic ovary syndrome – may be caused by a hormonal imbalance before birth. The finding has led to a cure in mice, and a drug trial is set to begin in women later this year.

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects up to one in five women worldwide, three-quarters of whom struggle to fall pregnant. The condition is typically characterised by high levels of testosterone, ovarian cysts, irregular menstrual cycles, and problems regulating sugar, but the causes have long been a mystery. “It’s by far the most common hormonal condition affecting women of reproductive age but it hasn’t received a lot of attention,” says Robert Norman at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

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I try not to get all “WOO!” when I see optimistic science articles, because I know that there’s a long, hard road between an article and a cure, but… God, I hope they’re making real strides on this. Because while the article leads with “three-quarters of whom struggle to fall pregnant” (because of course it does–the article is distressingly focused on increasing fertility), but the syndrome causes a lot of pain and fatigue and a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms for the one in five women who have it, and “it hasn’t received a lot of attention” is the understatement of the century (seriously, if there was a disease affecting one in five men that involved chronic pain, it would have its own damn charity by now).

So if you have PCOS, I know this is only the beginning of the start of the journey toward good news, but… it’s better news than a week ago.

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