Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 8–13% of reproductive-aged women, impacts biopsychosocial factors and creates a significant health-related economic burden across the reproductive, metabolic and psychological spectrum of complications. Despite being a heterogenous condition, recent genomic studies indicate that PCOS, regardless of diagnostic criteria and clinical features, shares similar underlying biologic mechanisms. However, recent advances have shown that clinical reproductive and diagnostic features are poorly correlated to genotypes and do not represent true phenotypes. Until we have a better understanding of genetic and epigenetic influences on PCOS and long-term outcomes, targeted treatment is limited.
In the interim, a unified approach to integrate evidence, optimise management and guide future research in PCOS is necessary. This has motivated an international collaboration to develop an International Evidence-Based PCOS Guideline to improve health outcomes in women with PCOS. Dissemination and translation of the guideline into health policy and clinical practice are crucial steps to close the knowledge–-practice gap, guide future research and enhance positive impact on the health of women with PCOS.
Here, we review the (i) understanding of aetiology and genetics of PCOS; (ii) development and translation efforts of the 2018 International Evidence-based PCOS Guideline; (iii) current progress and plans for the guideline update, including the involvement of an early career researcher network to assist with evidence synthesis and (iv) the opportunity to target and guide future research for PCOS.