Researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai have been testing artemisinin, a molecule derived from sweet wormwood, to combat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal disorder affects 10% of women and is the leading cause of infertility in France.

PCOS is a common condition, affecting 10% to 15% of the female population. Despite the misleading name, women with PCOS do not actually have cysts on their ovaries. Instead, they experience a range of symptoms due to the same underlying issue: an excessive production of male hormones, particularly testosterone. Women with PCOS may have excess body hair, acne, irregular or absent menstrual cycles, infertility, and in some cases, overweight or diabetes.

Current treatment for PCOS focuses on managing the symptoms. Oral contraceptive pills can help reduce the production of male hormones by the ovaries. For severe hirsutism, doctors may prescribe cyproterone acetate (commonly known as Androcur) or spironolactone. Clomiphene citrate may be used to induce ovulation in women trying to conceive.

The potential use of artemisinin in treating PCOS is a promising development in the field of reproductive health. Artemisinin is known for its anti-malarial properties, but researchers are now exploring its effects on hormone regulation in women with PCOS. By targeting the underlying hormonal imbalance, artemisinin could offer a more effective treatment for PCOS compared to current symptom management strategies.

While more research is needed to fully understand the benefits and potential side effects of using artemisinin for PCOS, this innovative approach highlights the importance of exploring new treatment options for hormonal disorders. With further studies and clinical trials, artemisinin could become a valuable addition to the existing therapies for PCOS, offering hope to women struggling with this common and complex condition.