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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

The Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

By Paula Hovell on March 17, 2018

A patient with her fertility doctorThere are many different causes of male and female infertility that our Los Angeles, CA clinic can address. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the more complicated causes of female infertility. Its exact causes are unknown, though it’s been linked to issues with low-grade inflammation, excessive insulin, and hormonal imbalances (particularly excess androgen).

Early detection and treatment of PCOS is the best way to bring the condition under control and prevent various health and wellness issues. Below are some of the most common symptoms and warning signs of the condition.

Irregular Menstrual Cycle

Rather than having a regular menstrual cycle, women with PCOS tend to experience an irregular cycle. This could mean missed periods, prolonged periods, or infrequent periods.

Weight Gain

PCOS is often linked to excessive weight gain, especially around the upper body. Many women with the condition notice changes to the size of their arms, shoulders, and neck area as a result of the condition.

Hair Loss on the Scalp

Losing a little bit of hair each day is normal, but PCOS accelerates the hair loss you experience. You might notice more hair loss than usual while brushing your hair or when in the shower.

Excessive Body Hair

While scalp hair loss is occurring, women with PCOS may also notice the growth of unwanted facial and body hair. This hirsutism can affect the face, back, torso, hands, and legs.

Acne and Oiliness of the Face

The excess of androgen in the body can send oil production in the body into overdrive. The result is much oiler skin of the face. This can translate into acne and other blemishes.

Mood Swings

PCOS often causes women to experience serious mood swings. You could experience serious panic and anxiety as well as depression due to the condition.

Headaches

Changes in hormones are a potential trigger for headaches, which is common among women with PCOS. These headaches can be severe, and might even be full-blown migraines.

Sleep Problems

Insomnia and poor sleep quality are common among women with PCOS. The weight gain of the upper body may result in sleep apnea as well, which refers to a blockage of the breathing passages during sleep.

Darkening and Thickening of the Skin

Dark patches of skin can develop as a result of PCOS due to insulin resistance. The condition is known as acanthosis nigricans. Common areas of the body affected by acanthosis nigricans include the neck, the elbows, the groin, and the armpits.

Bloating and Swelling

The imbalance in hormones can lead women with PCOS to feel bloated, which usually affects the abdominal area and cause tender breasts. Fluid retention is also an issue, and PCOS has been associated with swelling of the feet, ankles, and legs.

Mental Fog

Given the high blood sugar and changes in hormones related to PCOS, many women with the condition can experience problems with concentration. Even simple tasks may seem difficult to focus on.

Infertility

Lastly, PCOS makes conceiving naturally quite difficult due to the irregular periods and uncertain ovulation cycles. Working with a specialist to promote good overall health can help remedy this and the other symptoms noted above.

Learn More About Treating PCOS

To learn more about treating PCOS and helping you experience restored fertility and wellness, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. The team at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology will work closely with you and address all of your health concerns.

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