Dealing with issues like acne, facial hair, weight gain, and irregular periods?  PCOS, also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, may actually be to blame for these issues.  

What Are Symptoms Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Symptoms most often show up in your early 20s, but can start at any time.  If you notice the symptoms below, it’s a good idea to check in with a healthcare provider for appropriate testing.

- Irregular periods or no periods at all: You might observe that you have unexpected, erratic periods (called oligomenorrhea). Having your period off by a day or two isn’t cause for concern.  If, however, you are noticing that your cycle is consistently 35 days or longer, you should seek testing.

- Difficulty getting pregnant: PCOS sufferers can experience issues with fertility, due to lack of ovulation or inconsistent ovulation in PCOS.

- Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks: PCOS affects sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone.  In most people with PCOS, testosterone is elevated.  Elevated testosterone can often result in male-pattern hair growth and hair loss – excessive hair on the face, chest, or back, and thinning hair on the scalp.  

- Weight gain: As PCOS impacts hormones, it can sometimes affect weight.  If you have noticed weight gain without a change in lifestyle, this could be a symptom of a hormonal issue.  

- Oily skin or acne: Increased androgen levels are at work once more, causing skin issues like acne.

What Causes Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

Although the exact etiology is unknown, there appear to be both genetic and environmental factors that impact PCOS.

The condition is characterized by dysregulation of sex and metabolic hormones – mainly insulin, testosterone, and estrogen.

Treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is not curable, but the symptoms can be managed. There are a number of lifestyle treatments (including nutrition, exercise, and stress management), supplements, and pharmaceuticals that can be used alone or in combination to help improve fertility, skin, hair growth, and menstruation.