Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Causes And Common Symptoms

Date December 22, 2017

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormone disorders in women. According to the Office on Women’s Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in 10 women of reproductive age may have PCOS. In women with PCOS, the ovaries make excess androgens (male hormones). Another hormone, insulin, may be at play.

There’s no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, but treatments are available to keep the condition in check.

What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?

It’s not exactly clear what causes the condition. What is known so far is that an imbalance of androgens and insulin is implicated. When the levels androgens and insulin are on the rise, a woman can start to experience PCOS symptoms.

What complications can polycystic ovary syndrome cause?

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are at an increased risk of the following:

  • inability to conceive or pregnancy complications, including miscarriage and premature delivery;
  • type 2 diabetes and prediabetes;
  • high blood pressure;
  • high blood cholesterol;
  • sleep apnea;
  • endometrial cancer.

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?

Symptoms may appear as soon as a woman starts to have periods. But most women start to notice symptoms when they are in their twenties or thirties.

Common symptoms of PCOS include the following:

  • irregular periods – women with PCOS may have periods with longer intervals, some may have no periods at all;
  • difficulty getting pregnant;
  • increased hair growth in the areas such as the face, chest, and abdomen;
  • thinning hair and receding hairline (male-pattern baldness);
  • acne on the face, chest and upper back due to an increased activity of oil glands;
  •  gaining weight;
  •  headaches.

If you have such symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out whether it’s PCOS that’s causing them or another health condition.

Source: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, HealthLine,

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.