Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS, can be an extremely difficult condition to have. PCOS is one of the most common causes of infertility. PCOS is caused when a hormonal imbalance causes problems with ovulation. The symptoms of PCOS tend to appear gradually. Not all women who have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome will have the same symptoms, and not all women who have the same symptoms will have them to the same degree.
The earliest symptoms of PCOS can be varied. For some women, the first symptoms of PCOS are that they are having very few or even no periods. This typically is measured by having less than 9 periods in a twelve month timeframe. Some women with PCOS will have no period whatsoever. Some will have regular periods, but may not ovulate every month, or at all. Another early symptom of PCOS can be heavy and irregular vaginal bleeding. Around one third of all women with PCOS will have some vaginal bleeding. Another early symptom can be the loss of hair on the head, and growth of hair in other places. More than two thirds of the women who have PCOS experience hair loss or hair growth in unwanted places. For some women with PCOS, oily skin and acne can be symptoms as well.
Later symptoms of PCOS that will typically develop gradually over time can include:
– Infertility. This occurs when PCOS interferes with ovulation.
– Repeated miscarriages. The high insulin levels associated with PCOS can sometimes be responsible for miscarriages.
– Hyperinsulinemia, or too much insulin. This can lead to many of the other symptoms. Signs of too much insulin can include weight gain in the upper body, skin tags, and patches of dark skin on the neck, in the genital area, or under the arm.
– Weight gain in the upper body. This weight gain would typically be concentrated in the belly, as opposed to the hips.
– Sleep apnea or other sleeping problems.
– Chronic pelvic pain.
– High blood pressure.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should contact your health care provider immediately. There may be treatments for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome that you can discuss.