For those of you who are new to learning about PCOS it’s important to know about the signs and symptoms as this can allow you to understand more about your body (if you have PCOS) and to identify the different systems that are affected when you have this condition. Some people may vary in the signs and symptoms they experience.
Signs (and potential causes):
- Increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumb and big toe (often referred to as Hirsutism). Potential cause here may be androgen excess
- Some women may experience balding (alopecia) or thinning hair. Possible cause here may be androgen excess
- Skin issues – acne, dandruff, oily skin. Potential cause here may be hormone imbalance, and or inflammation
- Thick brown patches of skin (known as acanthosis nigrans) around the neck, armpit, breast folds and thighs. Potential cause of this is insulin resistance
- Skin tags, these are excess bits of skin mainly found around the neck, armpits and chest area. Potential cause of this is insulin resistance
- Cysts on the ovaries (via ultrasound). Potential causes hormone imbalance.
Symptoms (and potential causes):
- Periods may be irregular or absent. Potential cause may be due to imbalance of hormones, and/or stress
- Pelvic pain or menstrual cramping. Potential cause of this may be inflammation or anatomical issue in the pelvic region
- Infertility (difficulty conceiving). Potential cause may be due to no ovulation occurring
- Recurrent miscarriages. Potential causes imbalance of hormones plus numerous issues
- Obesity or weight gain particularly around the abdomen. Potential cause of this is insulin resistance and poor diet
- Psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, poor body image and poor self esteem. Potential causes include hormonal imbalances
- Sleep apnoea (breathing issues while sleeping). Potential cause of this may be obesity or stress hormones
- Results on a blood test may find: high cholesterol levels, high androgens, high oestrogens, high luteinising hormone, high prolactin and or elevated blood glucose levels.
Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we go into the causes in a bit more detail.