Tue 6 Sep 2011
Information on the new Australian guidelines for polycystic ovary syndrome
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Australian experts have developed the world’s first accessible evidence-based guideline for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
, a hormonal condition with reproductive, metabolic and mental health impacts. PCOS affects 12-21% of reproductive aged women in Australia, yet up to 70% of women with PCOS remain undiagnosed.
The evidence-based guideline for the assessment and management of polycystic ovary syndrome is the culmination of two years of rigorous work from the PCOS Australian Alliance of leading Australian PCOS experts from the research, clinical and community sectors, in collaboration with the national not-for-profit women’s health organisation, Jean Hailes. The Australian Department of Health and Ageing funded the project, which was auspiced by Jean Hailes and supported by the consumer advocacy group Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Association of Australia Inc. (POSAA).
The Guideline provides thirty eight recommendations addressing four key areas:
- challenges of assessment and diagnosis
- assessment of emotional wellbeing
- lifestyle management
Importantly, the guideline addresses the long-term complications of PCOS including increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and anxiety.
Currently most adolescent women (less than 18 years) with irregular cycles are treated with the oral contraceptive pill. These guidelines recognise that this masks the symptoms of PCOS. The guidelines recommend that PCOS be considered in any adolescent woman who has had irregular cycles for two years. In an adolescent woman who is being considered for commencement of the oral contraceptive pill then PCOS should be ruled out first if they have had irregular cycles for at least 12 months. If PCOS is suspected in a young woman already on the oral contraceptive pill, then it is not possible to carry out the necessary hormonal diagnostic blood tests until the woman has been off the pill for three months.