PCOS symptoms often start gradually.
The hormonal abnormalities may begin as soon as the first menstrual period in the teen years.
is no set of symptoms that are present exactly in every woman. There
is variation in the type and severity of the symptoms from woman to
One common precipitant of symptoms is weight gain. A woman
may not notice symptoms until she begins to put on weight, which worsens
the hormonal imbalance going on in her body.
Menstrual cycle irregularities
Problems with the menstrual cycle are often the most characteristic and often appear amongst the first symptoms.
Common patterns include
- Few or no periods.
Long cycles resulting in fewer menstrual periods in a year. Many women
have less than 8 cycles in a year. Other women do not have any periods
at all, called amenorrhea. This often shows up after a woman has had her
first periods after menarche. This is secondary amenorrhea, meaning it
occurs after a woman has already had periods in the past. Some women may
have regular periods but without ovulation, that is, no egg released(
- Irregular bleeding which may vary from very scant to very heavy. About 30% of women have heavy periods.
is one of the leading causes of infertility amongst women in the US.
Even when these women succeed to conceive, many of these pregnancies
might end up as miscarriages.
Symptoms due to high androgens
75% of women have evidence of high androgens( male sex hormones). Women
of northern European or Asian descent usually have few androgenic
- Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist
- Acne, oily skin and hirsutism. Hirsutism is hair growth on the face, chest, back, stomach, thumbs, or toes, like in men.
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning and loss of hair (alopecia).
- Decreased breast size, increased size of clitoris and depening of the voice.
ovaries have multiple small cysts seen with ultrasound. A cyst is like a
tiny balloon filled with fluid. Not all women with plycystic ovaries( poly means many; cystic
means made of cysts, those small fluid balloons) have PCOS. If an
ultrasound shows that you have many cysts,it does not mean you have
PCOS. Other characteristics must be used to make the diagnosis.
Furthermore, not everyone with PCOS will have polycystic ovaries.
These cysts may produce chronic pelvic pain.
- Obesity of the upper parts of the body
- Skin tags which are excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
- Skin discoloration producing dark, velvety skin patches under the arm, on the neck, or in the groin and genital area.
Emotional symptoms Anxiety or Depression
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