Many women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, without knowing it. Often, PCOS candidates have irregular periods, facial hair growth, and acne, especially on the chin, lips, and sideburns.
This is the result of a hormonal imbalance, and often – but not always – PCOS causes cysts to form directly on the ovaries.
These cysts are not dangerous, but they lead to hormonal imbalances that can cause infrequent or prolonged periods, excessive hair growth, acne and obesity. It is also important to diagnose PCOS early so that it does not lead to long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
What causes PCOS?
Doctors don’t know what exactly causes PCOS, but there are several theories about certain risk factors:
- Excess insulin: Too much insulin can affect the ovaries by increasing the production of androgens (male hormones), which can eventually interfere with the ovaries’ ability to ovulate properly.
- Mild inflammation: Studies have shown that women with PCOS also have mild inflammation, which causes the polycystic ovaries to produce androgens.
- Heredity: PCOS can be hereditary, so if your mother or sister has it, you are more likely to get it too.
Signs and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome appear soon after a woman starts menstruating, but PCOS can also develop later in her reproductive years. There are many signs to look out for; However, people can be affected in different ways, and symptoms worsen with obesity.
The Mayo Clinic and WebMD say to look out for the following symptoms:
- Irregular periods
This is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS. Some examples include periods with cycles of 35 days or more, fewer than eight periods per year, long or heavy periods, and no periods for four months or longer.
- Excess hair on face and body
You may notice increased hair growth on your chin, chest, back, stomach, and even your toes.
You may experience depression or mood swings that affect your character.