PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a common, however complicated medical condition among women. Because women’s bodies are not all built the exact same way, some women with PCOS tend to present symptoms which are quite different from others with the same condition. The symptoms of PCOS usually manifest because of hormonal imbalance in women. Small cysts develop on the ovaries, hence the term polycystic. PCOS is believed to be caused by insulin imbalance, as well as excessive amounts of androgen (the male hormone) in the woman’s body. Here are the most classic signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome:
Irregular menstrual periods
Some women go for months without their periods, and pregnancy tests always come out negative. Polycystic ovaries prevent ovulation. So if ovaries do not release an egg regularly, the result is no menstruation. Some women also experience difficulty getting pregnant, and some are considered infertile because of PCOS.
Change in appearance
Because women with PCOS have excessive amounts of male hormones, they commonly present with symptoms such as obesity, acne, excessive hair growth, skin discoloration, dandruff, and flat chest. Because appearance is important for many, it can be frustrating for many girls and women to experience these symptoms. What commonly follow are bouts of depression due to this.
Women with PCOS may exhibit high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure. They also usually experience a malfunction in the body’s ability to control blood sugar. Insulin system malfunction is one of the causes of PCOS, as researchers say, so they can either be hyper- or hypoglycemic.
Many of these signs and symptoms of PCOS may not be present in all women, which is why almost a third of women with this condition are not aware they have PCOS until they consult with their doctors. Missing periods is the only consistent symptom among women, so regular visits to one’s gynecologist is a must.