The Silent Struggle: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

A hidden struggle affects many individuals: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is complex, with impacts spanning ethnicities, ages, and geographical regions, yet remains underexplored. PCOS disrupts hormonal balance, affecting ovaries and leading to irregular periods and potential fertility issues. It also goes beyond fertility issues, involving metabolic disruptions, which persist beyond reproductive years.

Breaking the Silence:

Discussing PCOS is challenging due to societal stigma, lack of awareness, and cultural taboos surrounding women’s health. Breaking down these barriers and fostering open conversations about PCOS is essential in creating a supportive environment where individuals can seek help. Understanding the diverse experiences of PCOS sufferers is critical in effectively addressing this common syndrome.

Knowledge empowers:

Providing accurate information on PCOS management is key to empowering those affected. This involves understanding the diverse ways PCOS manifests, exploring treatments, and embracing healthy lifestyles. Regular physical activity, dietary considerations and stress management techniques can significantly improve symptoms and overall well-being.

Building Support Networks:

Living with PCOS doesn’t have to be a solitary struggle.  Joining PCOS communities allows us to share experiences and find strength in one another, breaking down isolation. Connecting with others facing similar challenges allows us to share experiences and exchange advice. Support networks can also shape future resource development. Emotional support, self-care, utilising available resources and acknowledging that each person’s journey with PCOS is unique are important.

Navigating the intricacies of PCOS requires collaboration between individuals, healthcare professionals, and the broader community. Healthcare providers play pivotal roles in diagnosis, intervention, and management of PCOS. Fostering greater understanding of PCOS among healthcare professionals ensures care addresses both physical and emotional aspects of the condition. Public awareness campaigns have a powerful role in dismantling the silence surrounding PCOS, and can reach a wide audience, encouraging open dialogue, and dispelling misconceptions that contribute to the stigma associated with PCOS.

The Role of PCOS Relief (Charity Number: SC051494)

PCOS Relief has a vital role in empowering those with PCOS, including those from ethnic minority communities. By providing tailored support, resources, and information, PCOS Relief aims to bridge the gap in access to care and create a safe space to connect and share experiences.

PCOS Relief is committed to data-driven support, and promotion of research to illuminate nuances of the condition across diverse populations, whilst pushing for improved healthcare outcomes for all. Through initiatives such as culturally sensitive support groups, educational workshops, and advocacy campaigns, PCOS Relief will dismantle the stigma surrounding the condition and empower individuals from all backgrounds to take control of their health. For further information, visit


By equipping ourselves with knowledge, seeking support, and fostering open conversations, we can break the silence and build a future where PCOS is understood, managed, and ultimately destigmatised. Together, we can create a world where those affected by PCOS are not defined by their condition but empowered to live life on their terms.

Next steps:

Join us on Thursday 7 March, 6:00 – 8:30pm, at Edinburgh Napier University, to discuss the lived experience of PCOS, how a diagnosis is made, and what it really means, as well as what support exists (both medical and beyond). We will showcase local research that aims to make a difference in understanding and treating this disease. But most importantly, we want you to ask the questions that matter, we want you to tell us what’s required.

This event is a joint initiative between Edinburgh Napier University and the charity PCOS Relief. It is open to all, so if you want to learn more about what PCOS is, and how it affects people, please come along.


The Connection Between Cattle, Methane, and Human Health: Improving Animal Health for Sustainable Livestock Production

It may not be initially apparent, but there is a significant link between cattle, methane emissions, and human health. The agricultural sector is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and a substantial portion of these emissions come from ruminant animals like cattle, sheep, and goats. These animals rely on microbes in their stomachs to digest plant material, but this digestive process also produces methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas.

While there is a growing discussion about reducing livestock consumption in wealthier countries, many individuals in lower-middle-income countries (LMICs) struggle with protein deficiency, leading to various health issues, particularly in young children. As the African population continues to increase, the demand for livestock products is also on the rise, but this poses challenges in terms of sustainability and climate resilience. How can we meet the growing demand for animal products while minimizing the environmental impact of livestock production?

One approach is to focus on improving animal health. Currently, disease accounts for a significant loss of animal production worldwide, with even higher numbers in LMICs. An ongoing project aims to measure the specific effects of various conditions on productivity and greenhouse gas emission intensity (the amount of GHG produced per kilogram of product). While the results are still preliminary, recent findings have shown:

Miscarriage among Tanzanian dairy cattle leads to a loss of milk and meat production, increasing the GHG emissions intensity of existing products by up to 14%. These losses could have supplied the protein needs of 1 million Tanzanians.

The mortality rate of beef calves within the first year of life in Kenya increases the GHG emissions intensity of Kenyan beef products by 6% and results in a loss of production that could have supplied beef to 3.6 million Kenyans.

By focusing on improving animal health, we can work towards sustainably increasing livestock production while minimizing its environmental footprint. Addressing these issues is crucial for meeting the protein needs of individuals in LMICs and ensuring the long-term health of both people and the planet.

This work is a collaboration between, Edinburgh Napier University, The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), The Mazingira Centre (ILRI), The Centre for Tropical Livestock & Genetics, The Roslin Institute, Washington State University, The Nelson Mandela Institute (Arusha, Tanzania), Mekelle University (Ethiopia), FAO, The Global Research Alliance and the Environmental Defense Fund.

 Funding was obtained from the Environmental Defense Fund and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.