Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that occurs when the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens. While it is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women, up to 75% of individuals with PCOS remain undiagnosed .
PCOS can cause a wide range of symptoms that impact an individual’s quality of life and ability to work. Unfortunately, women’s health needs are often overlooked or misunderstood in the workplace - to the detriment of them and their employers. Here’s how this condition can impact women in the workplace and how testing for hormones associated with PCOS can empower individuals to take control of their hormonal health.
PCOS causes small cysts to develop in the ovaries, causing enlargement of the ovaries, production of excess androgen, and irregular menstrual cycles. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but some factors that may play a role include:
- Insulin resistance that leads to the production of the male hormone androgen
- Low-grade inflammation in response to infection or injury
- Heredity with a family history of PCOS
- Excess androgen interfering with ovulation
Symptoms vary for each individual with PCOS. Not every person with PCOS will have all of the symptoms, and each symptom can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms may also change at different stages of life. Possible PCOS symptoms include:
- Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
- Enlargened ovaries or ones that have cysts
- Hirsutism or excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back
- Weight gain, particularly around the abdomen
- Acne or oily skin
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
- Skin tags
- Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts
Early PCOS diagnosis and treatment can aid in lowering the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While PCOS is a chronic condition, condition management and symptom improvement is possible.
How PCOS can impact women at work
The impact of PCOS on women’s health can be overwhelming. It affects health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and mental well-being, which in turn impacts work life. Studies have shown that women with PCOS suffer from higher social stress and other life stresses, including occupational stress . As PCOS goes widely undiagnosed, many women suffer from their symptoms in silence. The physical symptoms of PCOS and its impact on mental health can cause tiredness and exhaustion, resulting in a lack of focus at work or difficulty managing jobs and personal lives.
Employers have an opportunity to help their employees improve their quality of life and empower them to reach their full potential at work. While PCOS is often dealt with behind the scenes by individuals, employers can help support those living with the condition by ensuring they have benefits and policies that actively support employee health and wellness.
How LetsGetChecked can offer hormonal health insights
As an employer, knowing how to offer the right support can be difficult. However, taking a proactive approach and tailoring health benefits to meet the needs of female employees can help improve performance, talent attraction, and retention and reduce absenteeism rates.
LetsGetChecked’s PCOS Test provides insights into key hormone levels, empowering employees to make informed healthcare decisions and receive the care they need. Our healthcare solutions meet people where they are, making it easy for employers to address the complicated needs of the modern workforce. Our comprehensive solutions provide actionable health insights and accessible care to help female employees stay healthy and happy.