One of the most dangerous things about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is that many experts consider it a stealth medical condition. Most women with PCOS do not know that they have this medical condition. According to the PCOS Foundation, although between 5% and 10% of women of childbearing age in the US are affected by PCOS, less than half are ever diagnosed. That’s why, in honor of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Awareness Month, we wanted to provide information about the common warning signs.
Irregular menstrual bleeding is the most common sign associated with PCOS. Irregular bleeding during PCOS is caused by higher-than-normal levels of androgens as well as lower-than-normal levels of progesterone creating a hormone imbalance. This can take the form of menstrual cycles that are infrequent, irregular or prolonged.
Some women with PCOS experience thinning hair on their head, which can worsen in middle age. Additionally, increased androgen levels can trigger hirsutism, a condition that leads to the growth of excess facial and body hair.
The hormonal imbalance during PCOS can interfere with a woman’s ability to ovulate normally, which is essential for pregnancy to occur. With that in mind, it’s no wonder why many women with PCOS experience fertility issues and difficulty getting pregnant. In fact, the PCOS Foundation estimates that nearly 70% female infertility cases are related to PCOS.
Sudden Weight Gain
Unexplained, sudden weight gain (especially around the abdomen) is another common sign of PCOS. This may be a result of insulin resistance that causes difficulties for the body when it attempts to metabolize blood sugar. In addition to weight gain, PCOS can also make it especially difficult to lose weight.
At Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett, our reproductive healthcare providers have extensive experience diagnosing and treating PCOS. We take the time necessary to work with every woman we see to develop the most helpful and appropriate treatment plan possible. If you would like more information about PCOS or to request an appointment with one of our providers, please contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more news, tips, and updates on our upcoming health & wellness events.