Why is PCOS so common

Dr Himabindu

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Himabindu Annamraju,
February 18, 2024

why is PCOS so common

Table of the content

  • Why Many Women Are Diagnosed with PCOS
  • Why Is PCOS So Common?
    • Sedentary Lifestyles and Obesity.
    • Insulin Resistance
    • Genetic Predisposition
    • Environmental Factors
    • Stress and Hormonal Imbalance
    • Delayed Childbearing
    • Overuse of Hormonal Birth Control
    • Polycystic Ovary Morphology
    • Diet and Nutrition
    • Lack of Awareness and Diagnosis
    • Hormonal Disruptors in Skincare Products
    • Modern Agricultural Practices
    • Lack of Physical Activity
    • Influence of Androgens
    • Unhealthy Sleeping Patterns
    • Metabolic Syndrome
    • Role of Leptin
    • Role of Ghrelin
    • Hormonal Changes during Puberty
    • Role of Gut Microbiome
    • Influence of Birth Weight
    • Role of Inflammation
    • Role of Thyroid Hormones
    • Emotional and Mental Health
    • Epigenetic Factors
  • FAQ’s

Why Many Women Are Diagnosed with PCOS

Understanding the Rise of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in India and across the globe
In recent years, an alarming trend has emerged, with an increasing number of women being diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal disorder can cause a range of physical and emotional challenges, making it crucial to understand why is it becoming more prevalent. Let us try to understand different factors contributing to the rise of PCOS in women, combining expert knowledge and credible sources to shed light on this perplexing issue.

Why Is PCOS So Common?

PCOS, a condition characterized by hormonal imbalances, affects the ovaries and leads to the formation of multiple cysts. It can result in irregular menstrual cycles, infertility, weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth.
The following are some of the key reasons why many women are experiencing this disorder:

1. Sedentary Lifestyles and Obesity.

Modern lifestyles often involve extended periods of inactivity, with desk jobs and long hours of screen time becoming the norm. Additionally, the prevalence of fast food and highly processed diets has contributed to the rise of obesity. Being overweight or obese can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to insulin resistance and higher androgen levels – both of these factors are associated with PCOS.

2. Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a significant factor in the development of PCOS. When the body becomes less responsive to insulin, it produces more to compensate. Elevated insulin levels can trigger the ovaries to produce excess androgens, further exacerbating the hormonal imbalance and increasing the risk of PCOS.

3. Genetic Predisposition.

While lifestyle plays a crucial role, some women may be genetically predisposed to PCOS. If there is a family history of the condition, the risk of developing it increases significantly. Genetic factors may influence how the body processes hormones and insulin, contributing to PCOS development.

4. Environmental Factors

The environment we live in can also play a part in the increasing prevalence of PCOS. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and environmental toxins may interfere with hormone regulation, potentially contributing to the onset of PCOS.

5. Stress and Hormonal Imbalance

Stress is a common feature of modern-day life, and chronic stress can wreak havoc on hormonal balance. Elevated cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress, can disrupt other hormones, such as insulin and reproductive hormones, potentially leading to PCOS.

6. Delayed Childbearing

As women are increasingly delaying motherhood to pursue careers and personal goals, their fertility declines with age. Delayed childbearing can influence hormonal patterns and make women more susceptible to PCOS.

7. Overuse of Hormonal Birth Control

While hormonal birth control is effective for preventing pregnancy, it can also disrupt natural hormone production and regulation. Prolonged use of hormonal contraceptives may contribute to the development of PCOS in some women.

8. Polycystic Ovary Morphology

Some women may have enlarged ovaries with multiple cysts, a condition known as polycystic ovary morphology. Although not all women with this condition will develop PCOS, it is a significant contributing factor.

9. Diet and Nutrition

Diet plays a crucial role in overall health and hormonal balance. A diet rich in whole foods, vegetables, and essential nutrients can positively impact hormonal regulation and reduce the risk of PCOS. Canned and processed foods and highly processed diets can lead to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.

10. Lack of Awareness and Diagnosis

The lack of awareness of PCOS both in the patients as well as healthcare providers can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Many women may suffer from PCOS without even realizing it, leading to untreated symptoms and potential complications.

11. Hormonal Disruptors in Skincare Products

Certain skin care products contain hormonal disruptors such as parabens and phthalates, which can interfere with hormone balance and contribute to the development of PCOS.

12. Modern Agricultural Practices

Modern agricultural practices involve the use of pesticides and herbicides, which can leave traces on food. These chemicals may disrupt the endocrine system and affect hormonal balance in women.

13. Lack of Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is crucial for maintaining hormonal balance and overall health. A lack of exercise can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for PCOS.

14. Influence of Androgens

Androgens, such as testosterone and DHT, play a vital role in PCOS development. Excessive androgen levels can lead to irregular menstrual cycles and the formation of ovarian cysts.

15. Unhealthy Sleeping Patterns

Disrupted sleep patterns and chronic sleep deprivation can disrupt hormonal balance, potentially contributing to the development of PCOS.

16. Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abdominal obesity, is associated with PCOS development.

17. Role of Leptin

Leptin, a hormone produced by adipose tissue, plays a role in appetite regulation and metabolism. Leptin resistance can impact hormone production and contribute to PCOS.

18. Role of Ghrelin

Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, can influence reproductive hormones and play a role in the development of PCOS.

19. Hormonal Changes during Puberty

Hormonal changes during puberty can set the stage for future hormonal imbalances, potentially leading to PCOS.

20. Role of Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome plays a significant role in overall health, including hormone regulation. An imbalanced gut microbiome may contribute to PCOS development.

21. Influence of Birth Weight

Studies suggest that both low and high birth weights may be associated with an increased risk of PCOS later in life.

22. Role of Inflammation

Chronic inflammation can disrupt hormonal balance and contribute to PCOS development.

23. Role of Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormones play a role in regulating metabolism and reproductive function. Thyroid dysfunction can contribute to the development of PCOS.

24. Emotional and Mental Health

Emotional and mental health can influence hormone regulation and may be connected to PCOS development.

25. Epigenetic Factors

Epigenetic factors can influence gene expression and may contribute to the development of PCOS.


Q: Can PCOS be cured completely?
PCOS is a chronic condition, and while there is no cure, it can be managed effectively through lifestyle changes, medication, and hormonal therapy.

Q: Can PCOS lead to infertility?
Yes, PCOS can cause irregular ovulation or the lack of ovulation, leading to infertility in some women.

Q: Is PCOS a hereditary condition?
There is a genetic component to PCOS, so if you have a family history of the condition, you may have a higher risk of developing it.
Q: Can women with PCOS get pregnant?
Yes, many women with PCOS can conceive with the help of fertility treatments or lifestyle changes.

Q: What is the best diet for managing PCOS?
A balanced diet that focuses on whole foods, vegetables, and lean proteins is generally recommended for managing PCOS.

Q: Can stress worsen PCOS symptoms?
Chronic stress can impact hormone regulation and potentially worsen PCOS symptoms.
The rise of PCOS in women is a complex issue influenced by various factors, including lifestyle choices, genetic predisposition, environmental factors, and hormonal imbalances. Understanding these contributing factors is essential in developing effective strategies for prevention, early diagnosis, and management of PCOS. By promoting awareness, making healthier choices, and seeking medical advice promptly, women can take proactive steps to mitigate the impact of PCOS on their lives.


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