Cysterhood is an informal term used among women who have been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The hashtag #cysterhood is widely used in social media circles as a means for women with PCOS to connect with, learn from and support others in a similar situation.
PCOS is a set of symptoms that occur in women as a result of elevated androgens (male hormones) in the body. These symptoms can include amenorrhea, weight gain and trouble losing weight, excess hair growth, irregular or heavy periods, fertility issues, difficulty regulating blood sugar levels, male pattern baldness or thinning of hair on the scalp, and patches of thicker, darker skin.
PCOS is also associated with other health conditions including heart disease, type II diabetes, and mood disorders.
FertilitySmarts explains Cysterhood
PCOS is the most common hormone disorder in women aged 18-44. It is often discovered when a woman is trying to conceive. When it is found that she is infertile due to lack of ovulation, PCOS is often the underlying cause.
The term "cysterhood" was likely created to help raise awareness about the challenges associated with PCOS and to develop a support network for women who have been diagnosed with the condition.
A play on words of the term "sisterhood," the "cysterhood" helps to reduce a woman's feelings of isolation when she knows that others that relate to the things she may be experiencing.
The "cyst" in the word "cysterhood" refers to these persistent ovarian cysts that can be characteristic of PCOS.