5 Major Signs You May Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

People rarely talk about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but this hormonal disorder affects up to 27% of women during their childbearing years — or 10 million women worldwide. While the name “polycystic ovary syndrome” refers to the small cysts that can form within your ovaries, you can still have PCOS without cysts being present.

When you have PCOS, your ovaries produce high amounts of androgens, which are male sex hormones While this may not seem like a big problem, this imbalance can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Without treatment, PCOS increases your chances of health complications, ranging from Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart problems to uterine cancer, infertility, miscarriages, and premature birth.

As a seasoned endocrinologist, Dr. Rohit Dwivedi specializes in common and complex hormonal disorders, like polycystic ovary syndrome. Dr. Dwivedi recommends scheduling an appointment at Sonoran Endocrinology for diagnosis and treatment if you notice these symptoms.

1. Irregular periods

PCOS impacts your ovaries, which make and release your eggs each month, so your symptoms typically start around the same time you have your first period. 

A typical menstrual cycle lasts anywhere from 22-35 days. But since your ovaries don’t function properly, PCOS usually causes extremely heavy or light periods and infrequent menstruation.

Because of the role PCOS plays in egg production and the menstrual cycle, it can also make it difficult for you to conceive, and infertility is often the first sign a woman has that there’s a problem.

2. Excess body hair

If you have unwanted body hair, especially in the wrong places — like your arms, back, chest, face, and toes — it could indicate a hormonal imbalance. In fact, more than 70% of women with PCOS have excess hair growth, a condition known as hirsutism.

Similarly, high levels of androgens can also lead to male-pattern baldness, a condition that causes your scalp hair to thin and fall out. Unlike male-pattern baldness in men, female symptoms typically cause thinning across the entire scalp as opposed to one area.

3. Weight gain and insulin resistance

While PCOS can affect anyone, up to 80% of women with the condition are overweight or obese. This hormonal imbalance can also cause weight gain, especially in your abdomen.

It’s also common for women with PCOS to have problems using insulin effectively, which can lead to even more androgen production. And because obesity also increases your insulin levels, carrying excess weight can make your PCOS symptoms even worse.

4. Skin problems

Having excess male hormones in your body can wreak havoc on your skin, increasing your chances for acne breakouts all over your body, including your face, upper back, and chest. But, these problems don’t stop there.

Because PCOS can cause insulin resistance, you could also develop skin problems ranging from skin tags to acanthosis nigricans. These dark, velvety patches of skin often occur at your neck, groin, and armpits.

5. Mood disorders

With the changes that PCOS can cause to your body, it’s no surprise that women with this hormonal problem are more likely to have mood-related disorders. Approximately 25% of women with PCOS experience:

Fortunately, you don’t have to struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome on your own. Dr. Dwivedi can help get your symptoms under control to improve your overall health and appearance. 

To learn more about PCOS, contact one of our convenient offices in Surprise orGilbert, Arizona, by calling us or booking online today.

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