What is PCOS?
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a common medical problem among women of childbearing age. It is also an easy disease to overlook despite the fact that roughly one woman in ten will suffer from it. Learn more about PCOS and the signs and symptoms associated with it to ensure you’re not being affected by it.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is a hormonal problem that can occur in women after puberty. Women who suffer from PCOS have unusually high androgen levels in their systems. Androgens are masculine hormones which can lead to a variety of symptoms for women when they are present in unhealthy levels.
The precise cause of the disease is unknown, but researchers have found some factors that appear to be linked to it. It is likely that there is a genetic component but there is also evidence for environmental factors. It is extremely common regardless of the precise cause, so many women will need to deal with it at some point in their lives.
Signs and Symptoms
Sex hormones play an important role in the human body, so we can see a fairly wide variety of symptoms among people who suffer from PCOS. Most of these symptoms will get worse for patients who are also obese, but anyone with the disease can suffer from them.
Menstrual symptoms are common. Many women who suffer from PCOS will have irregular periods. Their timing can change or they can even stop entirely. On the other hand, some patients suffer from unusually heavy periods instead. The precise changes vary, but irregularity is common.
We also see patients that develop masculine traits. The development of extra facial or body hair is common. Some people also develop male-pattern baldness or heavy acne as a result of the hormonal changes.
The ovaries can also develop the cysts that give the disease its name. They can get in the way of normal ovarian function and even cause infertility in some cases.