PCOS - Your Medical Handbook

book extract - foreward
what is in a book about PCOS?

I remember as a junior doctor suggesting to a senior colleague that I envisaged a career investigating the cause and consequences of PCOS. I was strongly advised against such a plan on the basis that it was a poorly defined condition and that it would ultimately be frustrating to work in an area with layers of uncertainty. Not least because no one could define exactly what the syndrome was! Despite having great respect for my elders, I opted to pursue my plan and over 20 years have met many women with the condition and adjusted my advice on treatment and lifestyle according to my learning. Perhaps most of all, I think anyone with a lifelong condition benefits from information. It is your body so why shouldn't you become an expert in the condition?

In this book I have tried to put into some order the discussions that I have with my patients in routine clinics. Most of the information is based in conventional medicine which is my background. I hope that I have been able to achieve my goal of providing detailed medical information that might be accessible to someone without a degree in biology.

The idea of a handbook is that this might be something that you dip in and out of depending on circumstance. Because the label PCOS covers such a wide spectrum, not everything in this book will apply to you. On the other hand the focus of attention can change over the years so that other parts become relevant later on.

There is a great deal of information available on the Internet and in various self-help books. It is often difficult however, to put everything in perspective and to work out where each individual fits into the wider picture. In order to address this I have tried to spread the net wide when choosing the level of content for this book. Some readers of the early drafts have questioned whether this might be a book aimed only at doctors. While medical practitioners may well find the book useful, my main aim was to provide a reference of medical information for women with PCOS so that they had access to the same knowledge base as doctors. I could see no reason why, as a doctor, I should oversimplify the information available.

I have been greatly assisted by Myrto Williams who has patiently provided content for illustrations. Women who have attended my clinics may well recognize some of these diagrams which we use in clinic in order to understand the processes involved and the mode of action of treatment options.

In summary, I hope that this book fills a gap in the information that is widely available from other sources. I would be interested to hear from any reader who has a comment.

Professor Gerard Conway
London, February 2016