The Androgen Excess and PCOS Society conference

People sitting down and taking notes with pens and paper at a conference.

Verity was able to attend the virtual AE-PCOS conference during the first weekend in November. The Androgen Excess and PCOS Society are an international group of professionals researching and improving the understanding of conditions related to androgen excess such as PCOS, Adrenal Hyperplasia, Idiopathic Hirsutism and Premature Adrenarche.

Verity has attended past conferences allowing us to represent the patient voice and importantly support the formation of the first set of international guidelines for PCOS. These were published in 2018 and spearheaded by a team from Monash University in Australia, led by Professor Helena Teede.

The AEPCOS society aims and promotes early career focus on PCOS for researchers and clinicians. The conference offers a space to share and collaborate on current research topics and develop new clinical best practice that benefits both clinicians and patients.

Whilst most of the research is focused on small scale studies, there are interesting areas developing such as:

  • Do those with PCOS have increased hunger signals? Recent research suggests this may be the case but further research needs to take place. This is clearly a hot topic considering the impact that excess weight can have on patients and our overall symptoms.
  • Does the timing of puberty impact PCOS development? One of the studies presented indicated that entering puberty early may correlate with a higher risk of developing PCOS.
  • Does Metformin help PCOS? This study reinforced that metformin is specifically helpful to those with insulin resistance issue but not for PCOS in general.
  • Do PCOS phenotypes exist? This is a hot topic in recent years looking at how each individual experiences their PCOS differently. If researchers can identify clear sub-types of PCOS and back this up with physical evidence then this may lead to better diagnosis, treatment and long term management strategies.
  • Does gut health impact our hormones? The gut microbiome is another hot research topic, and not just for PCOS. It’s a whole ecosystem in our bodies that we know very little about. One study has shown that the health of your gut can impact the balance of hormones and hunger signals, in turn, this can impact on an individuals experience of managing their PCOS.

As a patient representative charity, we welcome the continued work from the society in helping to improve our scientific understanding of PCOS and translating that into practical change for both clinicians and patients regards diagnosis, treatment and management.