Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
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