Reframing PCOS as a Hormone Imbalance,  Not a Disease | Dr. Jerilynn Prior

Fempower Health

Reframing PCOS as a Hormone Imbalance, Not a Disease | Dr. Jerilynn Prior

April 5, 2022

Reframing PCOS as a Hormone Imbalance, Not a Disease | Dr. Jerilynn Prior

PCOS impacts 1 in 10 women yet it is still underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Dr. Jerilynn Prior, of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), is a Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of British Columbia, with 40 years experience in women’s health. She brings an interesting perspective to what might happen if we considered PCOS to primarily be a hormone imbalance rather than a disease.

In this episode, we cover the following:

  • Difference between ovarian cysts and PCOS
  • Why PCOS is not the best term to describe the condition
  • What is the main cause of PCOS?
  • What are the first signs of PCOS?
  • What is the diagnostic criteria for PCOS?
  • How having multiple criteria (e.g., Rotterdam and International) for diagnosing PCOS creates confusion leading to multiple cases of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
  • Can PCOS tests be wrong?
  • Can birth control make PCOS worse?
  • Can birth control cause PCOS?
  • Is PCOS genetically inherited?

“To me, this is the hopeful message. PCOS is a hormone imbalance, not a disease.” – Dr Jerilynn Prior


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**The information shared by Fempower Health is not medical advice but for information purposes to enable you to have more effective conversations with your doctor. Always talk to your doctor before making health-related decisions. 

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More about Dr. Jerilynn Prior

Jerilynn C. Prior BA, MD, FRCPC investigates women’s menstrual cycles, population variability of ovulation and physiological associations of ovulatory disturbances within regular cycles with osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer and endometrial cancer risks. She also studies the hormonal and experience changes in perimenopause and treatment of perimenopausal and menopausal hot flushes with progesterone. 

She is the 2019 recipient of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Aubrey J. Tingle Prize awarded to a “BC clinician scientist whose work in health research is internationally recognized”. She is Scientific Director of the Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR, since 2002) with its website ( providing practical evidence-based information through a mean of 3,000 page-views/day. She has led the British Columbia Centre of the population-based Canadian Multicentre Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) since 1994. In addition to authoring over 200 peer-reviewed papers (H Index 65), Dr. Prior is the author of the award-winning book, Estrogen’s Storm Season: Stories of Perimenopause (2005, 2nd ed. 2018), a novel written to inform/empower women with perimenopause information.

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