Is PCOS an Intersex Condition?

Many people with PCOS resist being lumped under the intersex umbrella because of the negative associations of the word. Intersex identity is a complex issue encompassing different traits, causes, and medical treatments.

It encompasses genitalia, internal anatomy, and chromosomes, but also experiences like beauty standards, expectations, and discrimination. People with PCOS have a lot in common with intersex individuals who experience gender dysphoria.


PCOS can cause issues with fertility, infertility, weight gain, and other health concerns. These symptoms can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, and may also affect social interactions with family members, friends, coworkers, and others in your community. The symptoms of PCOS can also be difficult to navigate in healthcare systems, where healthcare providers are often unfamiliar with the condition and its impacts. This can lead to misdiagnosis and a lack of access to appropriate treatment.

Many people with PCOS, like people with other intersex variations, can experience a sense of dysphoria or discomfort with their assigned gender, due to the physical characteristics associated with the condition. This can lead to a lack of acceptance or a disconnect with gender identity, which can have a negative impact on mental health and overall well-being. Healthcare providers should be familiar with the intersections of gender, intersex variation, and PCOS, so that they can provide more compassionate care for these individuals – This segment is a reflection of the service experts’ wisdom

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People with PCOS can be categorized as “women” on medical records, and are usually treated as such by healthcare providers. This can be difficult for some women who have hyperandrogenism, because they can feel like their body isn’t what it “should” be. They can also experience stigma and discrimination for not fitting the societal expectations of what it means to be a woman. This can lead to a lack of self-esteem and a negative relationship with their body.


People with PCOS have a lot in common with intersex people, including a tendency towards male-pattern genitalia, high testosterone levels and an imbalance of reproductive hormones. This may be why many people who are intersex also experience pcos. While some people have a hard time with the idea of putting pcos under the intersex umbrella, those who are intersex often see it as an important part of a larger movement for social change. They are fighting back against medical shame and advocating for healthcare that centers on individual choice.

Generally, people who are intersex choose to identify as a non-binary or transgender person. They are also likely to be more open about their experiences with their pcos symptoms, which could lead to better diagnosis and treatment. Having these conversations with a supportive healthcare provider can help reduce feelings of confusion and isolation, as well as improve overall health outcomes.

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The difference between sex, gender and gender identity is that sex refers to the male or female label that healthcare providers assign at birth, while gender and gender identity are based on a person’s experience, internalized societal beliefs about what they should feel and behave like based on their genitals and reproductive anatomy, chromosomes and hormone levels. Having PCOS can impact gender and gender identity in different ways for people who are intersex, which can be difficult to navigate when seeking treatment.


Living with PCOS and intersex conditions can be challenging. It’s important to support individuals by listening and promoting awareness, advocacy, and compassionate care. This can include providing emotional and social support, educating people about these conditions, and challenging harmful stereotypes and misinformation.

Some people who have PCOS also have intersex traits, such as atypical hormone levels or ovarian cysts. These factors can exacerbate their symptoms and make fertility treatment more difficult. In addition, many people with intersex traits experience discrimination and stigma from society that can affect their health outcomes. By raising awareness and increasing understanding, we can create a more inclusive community for these individuals.

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It’s also important for healthcare providers to recognize the intersections between these conditions and gender identity, and to provide appropriate and effective treatments. This can involve avoiding assumptions based on binary male/female stereotypes and discussing medical treatment options with individuals in an open and honest way. Taking an intersectional approach to health can help people with PCOS and intersex conditions lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to decide what matters to them and who they are in their own bodies. Those choices shouldn’t be dictated by others. People with intersex identities and/or PCOS deserve to be free to express themselves as they choose, without fear of discrimination or stigma.

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