Since PCOS is a leading cause of fertility and is known to be present in as many as 5 to 10% of women, the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome are important to know about and recognize. This condition is characterized by large numbers of developing eggs near the surface of the ovaries which look like a small string of pearls or cysts.
Symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome can vary significantly from woman to woman, however the most likely two or more of the signs and symptoms are listed below.
Menstrual disorders are most typically seen in PCOS. There could be irregular or infrequent periods (only about 4 to 9 periods a year). Some women may have amenorrhea or an absence of periods.
Another period problem such as heavier than usual menstrual bleeding is also noted sometimes.
Infertility and anovulation
The inability to ovulate and the consequent failure to get pregnant are the hallmarks of PCOS since this condition is the leading cause of infertility.
However these symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome are not seen in all women who have the condition, and not all women are rendered infertile or sub fertile.
This problem is caused due to the hormonal imbalance present in the body. There is typically an excess of the male hormone androgen secreted in the body, which is thought to interrupt the normal release of eggs (ovulation) from the ovaries each month.
This is another one of the troublesome symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome that women tend to gain weight due to no fault of their own and this owes itself the disturbances with blood sugar and insulin imbalance.
While only about half the women with PCOS tend to put on weight, those that do, find it hard or impossible to lose the excess weight.
In some, it could be a redistribution of the weight rather that actual weight gain – the womanly pear shape could alter into the apple shape with more fat being centered about the middle.
Problems with hair growth
Some women have troubling darkening or thickening of body hair with the area of the chin and upper lip spouting visible, coarse hair. Even the hair on the arms and legs and pubic area could thicken and darken due to the higher levels of male hormones present in the system.
Paradoxically symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome could also include hair loss or thinning from the head. The sort of PCOS that has higher levels of androgen could display these symptoms.
Acne and skin problems
Acne (on the face as well as back and chest) and skin tags sometimes appear as a result of PCOS.
Other symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome
There could be other non-specific symptoms such as fatigue and tiredness experienced. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea may also occur. Women often experience psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, and so on as well. Sometimes PCOS is seen to coexist among women who have hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease risk.