Celia McCarthy

Medical Art MSc

The PCOS Handbook; A comprehensively illustrated infographic booklet on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.


In recent years, there has been a growing movement to enhance access to information on female health topics. The way in which the perimenopause and menopause have been brought into the public eye recently demonstrate how increased visibility can normalise these stages of life and dispel associated shame. Societal norms, beauty standards, and pressures to conform to ‘feminine’ ideals can make it daunting for individuals to seek information and assistance in this area. The goal of this project was to shine a spotlight on another women's health topic: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This syndrome affects approximately 10 percent of those assigned female at birth (AFAB) who are of a reproductive age. Research indicates that those it affects desire more information to empower themselves.

This project presented an opportunity to create a comprehensive resource in the form of a handbook, available in both physical and digital formats, that employed a combination of illustrative styles to effectively convey the symptoms and processes associated with PCOS. Recognising that adequate health information starts with healthcare providers (HCPs), a website was developed to accompany the handbook. HCPs can utilise this resource to provide additional information to their patients. An intersectional approach was adopted in the visual component of this resource, aiming to blend medical and scientific accuracy with empathy and humanism, without compromising on either.

PCOS Handbook cover images

This piece is a combination of a life art piece overlaying images found within the handbook. Also seen is the back cover.

What is PCOS?

Selection of pages from the The PCOS Handbook.

Symptoms of PCOS

Lesser known symptoms of PCOS, Acanthosis Nigricans (left) and Suppertiva Hidradenitis (right), are shown here.

PCOS Handbook flick through

This is a quick flick through the handbook I created about PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) as part of my MSc Medical Art dissertation project. See more on my project website.

Support this graduate

I hope to be able to continue to grow and develop my portfolio in this way, seeking to make medical visualisations more diverse and representative of the global population. I am excited to share my work, so if you would like to follow along, follow me on Instagram where I regularly post my work in progress and new ventures. I am also open for freelance and commissioned work, feel free to send me direct message on Instagram or email me. Looking forward to collaborating with you! Celia, CMCC Design & Illustration.