Understanding the Symptoms of PCOS

For many women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the symptoms can be puzzling and somewhat vague. All you really want to know is what’s going on in your body and how you can get back to looking and feeling your best. Of course, if you’re in your childbearing years, and if you’re trying to get pregnant, the condition is that much more frustrating.

In this blog, Dr. Brandon M. Lingenfelter explains what PCOS is and how to recognize the symptoms so that you can regain control of your body and increase your quality of life. Let’s set the stage with some facts about this condition. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome affects an estimated one in 10 women. If you count yourself among them, you know that the seemingly unconnected collection of symptoms can be confounding. If you are obese or if your mother, sister, or aunt suffers from PCOS, you’re more prone to develop it as well.

There are a variety of PCOS symptoms that can be uncomfortable and affect your self-esteem and health.

Ovarian cysts

Ovarian cysts are small sacs filled with fluid. Although women who don’t have PCOS can develop cysts, women with PCOS are at a higher risk for developing them. The eggs may not develop properly or be released, but the follicle grows and a cyst develops instead. Sometimes women with PCOS have multiple cysts.

Irregular menstrual periods and infertility

One of the first symptoms for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome may be irregular menstrual periods. Many women will experience infrequent periods – only eight or nine periods a year. Others have periods that happen more frequently or not at all. 

Still other women experience excessive bleeding during their periods. Not surprisingly, PCOS is a fairly common cause of infertility, but the good news is that it’s also treatable. 

Unwanted hair growth 

Another common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome is the growth of excessive hair on the face or areas of the body where men typically grow thicker hair than women do, like the stomach and chest. In fact, 70% of all women who suffer from PCOS exhibit this symptom, also known as hirsutism.

Hair loss

Although many of the symptoms of PCOS can certainly be disruptive, hair loss is definitely one of the more visible and embarrassing symptoms. Some women who have PCOS not only experience thinning hair, but also hair loss typical of male-pattern baldness.

Skin issues

Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome usually have a variety of skin issues such as skin tags, those thick bumps or lumps of skin that can develop around the bra line, neck, or armpit area. Acne on the face, chest, or upper back is also common.

Another skin problem seen with PCOS patients is darkened skin that can be rough and sometimes has a velvety texture to it.

Weight gain

Women who have PCOS tend to suffer from insulin resistance, which means the body doesn’t utilize insulin properly, leading to high blood sugar. Instead of being converted to energy for the body’s cells, the excess sugar is stored as fat, which results in weight gain. In fact, an estimated 80% of women who suffer from PCOS are overweight or obese.

If you think you may have symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome, book an appointment at our practice in Princeton, West Virginia, so that we can find out what’s going on. Let us help you get back on the road to a healthier you. Make your appointment online or call our office in Princeton, West VIrginia today.

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