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The symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can affect your fertility, your appearance, and your general health. Symptoms often begin during the teenage years and may include:
Abnormal Menstrual Periods
Since women who have PCOS do not ovulate regularly, all women with PCOS have irregular periods. Your period may be very heavy, very light, or you may have no period at all. These changes in your menstrual periods make it difficult to become pregnant.
With PCOS, the cysts on your ovaries can cause your hormones to be out of balance. Since your ovaries produce higher-than-normal amounts of androgens (male hormones), women with PCOS may develop characteristics that are usually found in men. For example, your voice may deepen or you may acquire a condition called hirsutism in which women grow extra body hair on the face, back, chest, abdomen, nipple area, thumbs, or toes. The hair on your head may thin or you may become bald on the top of your head (male-pattern baldness.)
PCOS can also affect your skin. Increased androgen levels can result in acne, clogged pores, or oily skin. You may develop patches of thickened dark brown or black skin on the back of your neck or on your arms, thighs, or breasts.
Other symptoms associated with PCOS include elevated insulin levels, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You may have trouble maintaining a normal weight, gain weight, or become obese. These symptoms increase your risk for serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Getting these symptoms under control may help prevent long-term problems.
Some women with PCOS have problems with depression due to infertility problems, grief from miscarriages (which are common in PCOS,) or unhappiness with the noticeable changes in their skin, hair, or weight.