What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a hormonal imbalance that interferes with normal reproductive processes. PCOS usually starts at puberty and is associated with irregular periods and other hormone-related symptoms.

The most concerning issues with PCOS are the increase of infertility, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the higher risk of developing endometrial (uterine) cancer at an early age.

What causes polycystic ovary syndrome?

Research is ongoing to uncover a cause for PCOS. There is evidence that shows a link between certain forms of PCOS and family history, suggesting a genetic basis for the condition.

What are the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome?

  • Irregular menstrual periods, or no menstrual periods at all
  • Decreased frequency or complete lack of ovulation, resulting in problems with infertility
  • Obesity, often specifically characterized by weight gain in the upper body and abdomen
  • Oily skin and hair and persistent acne into adulthood
  • Abnormal hair growth, in a masculine distribution (facial hair, heavy hair growth on arms, chest, and abdomen)
  • Tendency to develop type 2 diabetes