Women Veterans Health Care
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age *, and women Veterans are no exception. This common health concern is related to a hormone imbalance that causes the ovaries to overproduce androgens (masculinizing hormones).
More than 50% of PCOS patients are overweight or obese, but some women may also be of normal weight. There are a variety of symptoms and complications caused by PCOS that are treatable at VA.
People with PCOS may have any of the following symptoms:
- An irregular period
- Excessive hair on the face or chin
- Thinning hair
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Oily skin
To have diagnosis of PCOS you must have at least 2 out of the following three:
- Irregular periods
- Lab tests or symptoms of high androgen levels
- Polycystic ovaries by ultrasound
Women with PCOS may be at risk for a number of other complications including:
- Sleep apnea
- High cholesterol
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Heart disease
What services does VA provide for PCOS?
If you have symptoms of concern, your VA provider will begin by testing you for PCOS through a combination of physical exam, blood tests, and ultrasound. Once diagnosed, your VA primary care provider can help you navigate your PCOS symptoms and complications and make a treatment plan that works for your unique needs.
There are many medical and nonmedical services provided by VA that can help with PCOS and its symptoms and complications, including:
- Infertility treatments
- Pre-conception health care
- Maternity care
- Healthy eating assistance through programs like the Healthy Teaching Kitchen
- Weight management through programs like Move
- Assessment and treatment for metabolic disorders like heart disease, diabetes, pre-diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure
- Mental health treatments for associated depression
Some PCOS symptoms may be difficult to talk about. VA primary care providers have specific training on speaking to and understanding women's health issues, like PCOS. VA also provides women's Mental Health Champions who receive training on talking about women's mental health concerns and can refer you to the mental health care you need.
How do I access services for PCOS at VA?
If you think you may have PCOS, schedule an appointment and speak to your primary care provider. They will be able to determine if you have PCOS and work with you to make a treatment plan for your symptoms and complications.
If you do not already have a VA primary care provider, you can call your nearest VA medical center and ask for the Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM). The WVPM can help coordinate the services you may need.
If you don't already use VA health care, you you may want to use the following online tools:
Find out if you are eligible for VA health care.
Enroll in VA health care if you haven't already.
Find your local VA and make an appointment.
The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to women's health
If you have questions or can't find what you're looking for, you can call, text, or chat online with the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) at 855-829-6636 to get help and find available resources and services in your area. Trained women representatives can also help you with issues such as:
- Enrolling in VA health care if you have not already
- Setting up a medical appointment in your area
- Answering questions about eligibility (including questions about disability ratings) and other VA benefits like employment, education, and home loans
WVCC representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.
Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments) or other benefits from VA related to PCOS?
Explore disability eligibility here. If you have questions, a Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) representative at your nearest regional office can explain more. Find your nearest regional office.
Where can I find more information, help, and resources on PCOS?
- VA Whole Health Library, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- US Department of Health and Human Services, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome *
- National Library of Medicine, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome *
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine, Hirsutism and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Booklet *
* By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs website.
† VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked website.