Polycystic ovary (ovarian) syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder in women of reproductive age, affecting one in ten women in this age group. With a range of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, they can cause a lot of distress and have a big impact on a woman’s quality of life.
Those in certain ethnic groups, or with a family history of the condition are at higher risk of getting PCOS. But, still, the exact cause of PCOS is unknown.
If not treated early, PCOS can even lead to infertility as well as other long-term health complications. So here, we look at some of the first signs of PCOS and the different ways symptoms present themselves.
Symptoms and signs of PCOS
Symptoms of PCOS normally start around the time of the first menstrual period. However, sometimes symptoms develop later if you have had periods for a while.
The first signs of PCOS can include:
- Irregular or infrequent periods
- Too much androgen – causing excess body or facial hair, severe acne and sometimes male-pattern baldness
- Mental and emotional health issues – including depression, low self-esteem and poor body image
- Other health-related issues – sleep apnoea, type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and cardiovascular disease
Having fewer periods, or periods that aren’t regular (lasting longer or heavier) are common signs of PCOS. Sometimes, periods can occur more than 35 days apart or can stop entirely. Women may experience difficulties getting pregnant. Also, obesity commonly occurs with PCOS and can worsen complications of the condition.
What to do if you have signs of PCOS
It is important to seek an official medical diagnosis for PCOS as soon as you notice the early signs. Leaving it late can lead to further health problems. A delayed diagnosis can also leave you feeling helpless, particularly when compounded by weight problems. However, there is support and help available if you are suffering with PCOS.
At The Wellington Women’s Clinic, Mrs Anupama Shahid can diagnose gynaecological conditions including disorders such as PCOS, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
Get in touch if you are concerned about signs of PCOS; we will carry out a detailed assessment and can offer different treatment options tailored specifically to you, to help you manage symptoms, and reduce any long-term health risks.