Woman sitting on a sofa holding her abdomen

The 2023 International Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Guideline, and AskPCOS Patient App led by the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation (MCHRI), Monash University, with international collaboration, was released recently in four international journals: Fertility and Sterility, Human Reproduction, Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and European Journal of Endocrinology.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a collaborator on this Guideline and, through her role at RCOG, Professor Shakila Thangaratinam from The University of Birmingham, was an advisor on the guideline committee.

The evidence-based guideline includes recommendations for diagnosis, lifestyle, wellbeing, fertility and treatment as well as improved care and support. It aims to address the priority needs of those with PCOS and is supported by significant freely available resources for women and their healthcare providers, to optimise health outcomes.

Significant changes include revised diagnostic criteria involving hormone tests instead of ultrasound, and recognising features beyond reproductive health to weight, diabetes, heart disease and mental health. It also addresses the need for novel approaches to care, personalised healthcare experiences, evidence-based therapies, and optimised pregnancy care.

PCOS is a neglected, underdiagnosed and under-researched women’s health condition that affects up to 12 per cent of women. It is often misclassified as a reproductive disorder, despite its far-reaching implications for metabolic, psychological, and pregnancy health. PCOS is also the leading cause of infertility in women.

We hope that this new Guideline will bring hope and better quality care to millions of women around the world. By shining a spotlight on PCOS, we hope to address the often neglected aspects of PCOS – weight gain, heart disease risk, diabetes and psychological wellbeing. Accurate diagnosis of PCOS is essential if women are to get the help they need.

Professor Shakila Thangaratinam, Dame Hilda Lloyd Chair of Maternal and Perinatal Health at the University of Birmingham, Joint Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Global Women's Health

Monash University’s Professor Helena Teede, a leading global academic in PCOS and the driving force behind the new guideline, said:

“The Guideline highlights that understanding of the unique challenges facing those with PCOS must be addressed at all levels, so that women and girls can have the healthcare and outcomes they deserve.”

The expanded and updated 2023 International PCOS Guideline is based on the best available evidence, clinical expertise and consumer preferences, and includes 254 recommendations and practice points to promote consistent, evidence-based care to improve women’s health. It builds on the 2018 guideline, already used by health professionals and those with PCOS in 196 countries.