PCOS Symptoms Women Should Be Aware Of

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition affecting 10% of people of reproductive age. Those who have PCOS have abnormally high levels of androgen, the “male” hormone. This causes irregular menstruation cycles as well as various symptoms, ranging from painful menstrual cramps to infertility.

Symptoms of PCOS

The exact cause of PCOS is not known; like many reproductive conditions, PCOS is a perplexing issue to doctors. Symptoms are various and can be vague, but those diagnosed with PCOS typically experience these symptoms:

  • Excessive levels of androgen: The extra male hormones affect the menstrual cycle and estrogen levels, so those with PCOS have fewer periods. Facial hair and severe acne is also known to occur.
  • Cysts on ovaries: Polycystic means “many cysts”. Follicles can build up around the ovaries and cause them to be enlarged and not able to release eggs.
  • Irregular periods: Fewer periods aren't always a good thing! Infrequent periods as well as heavy cycles with 35 days or more between can cause confusion, as well as more painful menstrual symptoms.

Risk Factors Associated with PCOS

PCOS symptoms can be more severe for individuals who are obese, and can lead to long term health problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease unless special care is taken. Insulin resistance and PCOS are related, though it is not known how, so maintaining a healthy diet and exercising will help alleviate these effects.

Heart disease and insulin resistance are not the only risk factors to consider with PCOS. This condition can also increase your chances of pregnancy and fertility complications. It may be more difficult to get pregnant, and women with PCOS have a higher chance of the following during pregnancy:

  • Miscarriages
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia

Much of PCOS is a mystery to the medical world, so staying ahead of your symptoms will help keep this condition from getting out of hand. Family planning and pregnancy can feel challenging, but speaking with a doctor about the right course of action will save you unnecessary stress and side effects. Eating healthy, exercise and monitoring your symptoms will also improve this condition. Checking in with your body can help you know when to just take it easy, or when it’s time to call a doctor.

If you have questions about PCOS or have been diagnosed and are looking to start a family, contact us today. Our specialists would be happy to answer any questions and assist you on the path towards parenthood.

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