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Approximately one in five women living in West Virginia and across the U.S. is suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, according to the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Association. To help raise awareness about the condition, the organization announced that September is PCOS Awareness Month.

Despite its name, polycystic ovarian syndrome doesn't actually involve cysts. Instead, it is a hormonal imbalance involving androgens, insulin and progesterone. This imbalance can cause a range of symptoms, including excess hair, acne, weight gain and mood swings, which can all make sufferers feel shame and embarrassment. It can also cause pelvic pain and problems with ovulation and fertility, meaning sufferers have difficulty conceiving.

Doctors still don't fully understand what causes PCOS, and it currently has no cure. However, researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research hypothesize that PCOS sufferers were exposed to excess anti-Mullerian hormone while in the womb, causing a permanent hormonal imbalance. In the lab, doctors were able to reverse the imbalance in mice with the IVF drug cetrorelix. The researchers hope these findings could lead to a cure for humans in the future. In the meantime, some women have found relief from PCOS symptoms by eating a low-carb diet and exercising regularly.

Doctors who fail to diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome might be found legally liable in civil court. West Virginia PCOS sufferers may contact a personal injury attorney to have their case assessed and learn about their legal options. After reviewing medical records and other evidence, the attorney might recommend filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible doctor and hospital. This might lead to a settlement that offers compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and other related damages.

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