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What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Updated: Aug 9

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder commonly developed by women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may experience infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess male hormone (androgen) levels, acne, and obesity.


Symptoms of PCOS
  • Irregular periods or abnormal menstruation involves missing periods or not experiencing periods at all, and experiencing heavy bleeding during periods.

  • 70% of women experience abnormal hair growth on the face, chest, arms, and/ or abdomen.

  • Acne on arms, chest, and/ or face that continues past the teenage years and can be hard to treat.

  • Obesity affects over 80% of women diagnosed with PCOS and often results in difficulty with losing weight.

  • Darkening of the skin in the neck and armpits, groin, and/ or underneath the breasts, is commonly caused by insulin resistance.

  • Cysts are small pockets of fluid found in the ovaries.

  • Skin tags (flaps of extra skin) are often found around the armpit or neck area of women.

  • Hair thinning or hair loss

  • Infertility or decreased frequency/ lack of ovulation resulting in the inability to conceive.


Causes and Risk of PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is primarily heritable, mothers and sisters of patients with a PCOS diagnosis have a higher chance of 20 % - 40 % of having it as well. Many women with PCOS have also experienced insulin resistance causing insulin levels to build up in the body possibly resulting in higher androgen levels. Obesity can also increase insulin levels and make PCOS symptoms worse.

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