Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) symptoms are often different for each woman. It is a complicated disorder with many possible signs and symptoms. The increase in androgens contributes to many of the symptoms that women experience. Because androgens are hormones which cause the typical male characteristics, many of the symptoms cause a distressing change in appearance. Depression is common as a result.
- Hirsutism: Increased hair growth in strange places (chest, face, back, lower abdomen, fingers, toes).
- Hair loss: Hair loss similar to male pattern baldness.
- Infertility: Difficulty in conceiving or becoming pregnant. Usually a result of irregular periods, or not ovulating each month.
- Infrequent or absent periods
- Anovulation or oligovulation: Not ovulating, or releasing a mature egg from the ovary each month. Without ovulation, periods may be irregular or absent.
- Ovarian cysts
- Acanthosis nigricans: Patches of dark, thickened,
velvety skin behind the neck, on the thighs, or on the
vulva. This is usually a sign of insulin resistance.
- Insulin resistance: The body does not respond as well to insulin, the primary hormone which helps the body use and deal with glucose or sugar. This causes elevated blood glucose levels and is a major risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes: Prolonged exposure to high levels of glucose and the reduced sensitivity of body cells to insulin eventually make the body unable to deal with sugar. When glucose levels are persistently high, complications develop. These include problems with eye sight, kidney disease, and neuropathy, which is a loss of feeling and circulation in the body limbs.
- High cholesterol
- Skin tags: Excess flaps of skin, usually found in the armpit or groin.
- High blood pressure
- Sleep apnea or snoring