Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition to diagnose. PCOS is the leading cause of female infertility. The symptoms of PCOS are rather long to be discussed. The list of PCOS symptoms includes irregular periods, male pattern hair growth, acne, weight gain, infertility, skin problems, and many more.
As a woman, acne, stray hairs, weight gain, and period problems seems like par for the course and, in some people’s minds, health woes that women need to learn to deal with. but the condition called POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME or PCOS may be behind these problems.
PCOS is a problem with hormones that affects women during their childbearing year, age 15 to 44; between 2.2 and 26% of women in this age group have PCOS. Many women have PCOS but don’t know it. In one study, up to 70 % of women with PCOS hadn’t been diagnosed.
PCOS affects a woman’s ovaries, the reproductive organ that produces estrogen and progesterone hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. The ovaries also make a small number of male hormones called androgens.
The ovaries release eggs to be fertilized by a man’s sperm. The release of an egg each month is called ovulation.
The Complete List of PCOS Symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Ovarian cyst
- High levels of male sex hormones in lab test
- Excess baby hair growth
- Scalp hair loss
- Pimple or acne
- Upper body weight gain
- Inability to lose weight
- stretch marks
- Weight loss
- Darkening and thickening of the skin
- Skin tags
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Depression or anger
- Swelling in legs or feet
- Migraines or headaches
- Body pain
- Inability to gain weight
- Brain fog
- Moon face
- Buffalo hump
- Oily skin
- Long and heavy period
- Painful period
- Gestational diabetes
- Hypertension during pregnancy
- Pelvic pain / painful intercourse
Irregular periods, ovarian cysts, and excess hair growth are classic clinical PCOS symptoms directly pointing to excessive male hormones. However, holistic practitioners follow a more elaborate list when they look for PCOS symptoms. Because they look for ‘the story behind the story.’ They consider a more comprehensive range of symptoms to diagnose PCOS-like conditions and treat them, often before they become full-blown PCOS or PCOD.
No single test can precisely diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
After going through the list of PCOS symptoms, some of Your healthcare providers might then recommend the following:
- Pelvic exam. You can check your reproductive organs for masses, growth, or other changes during a pelvic exam.
- Blood tests. Your doctor or other health care provider will take a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. Lab tests will measure the levels of these hormones: Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) affects your ability to get pregnant. Your status might be lower than average or even expected if you have PCOS.
- Ultrasound. An ultrasound can check the ovaries’ appearance and the thickness of the uterus lining. A wand-like device (transducer) is placed in the vagina. The transducer emits sound waves translated on a computer screen.
If you have PCOS, your provider might recommend more tests for complications. These tests include:
- Regular checkups of blood pressure, glucose tolerance, and triglyceride levels
- Screening for depression and anxiety
- Screening for obstructive sleep apnea
PCOS treatment focuses on managing the concern you have. It could include infertility, acne, or obesity. Specific treatments might involve lifestyle changes.
Your healthcare provider may recommend weight loss through a low-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise. Even a modest reduction in your weight — for example, losing 5% of your body weight — might improve your condition. Losing weight can increase the effectiveness of medications your provider recommends for PCOS, which can help with infertility. Your healthcare provider and a registered dietitian can work with you to determine the best weight-loss plan.
To regulate your period, your healthcare providers might recommend
Combination birth control pills.
Pills containing both estrogen and progestin decrease androgen production and regulate estrogen. Regulating hormones can lower your risk of endometrial cancer and correct irregular bleeding, excess hair growth, and acne.
Clomiphene. This oral anti-estrogen medication is given during the menstrual cycle.
Letrozole (Femara). This breast cancer treatment works to stimulate ovaries.
Acne treatments. Medications, including pills and topical creams, may help improve acne. Talk to your healthcare provider about options.
Gonadotropins. These hormone medications are given by injection.
Birth control pills. These pills decrease androgen production, which can cause excessive hair growth and acne.
Spironolactone (Aldactone). It stops the effects of androgen on the skin, including excessive hair growth and acne.
Eflornithine (Vaniqa). This cream can slow facial hair growth.
Doctors diagnose PCOS if women have these main symptoms: a high androgen level, an irregular period, and cysts in the ovaries. A pelvic exam, blood test, and ultrasound can confirm the diagnosis. PCOS is a serious medical condition requiring proper medical attention or surgical treatment. Many women have PCOD, but they don’t know it. A list of PCOS symptoms that affect ovulation and the ovaries that become the cause of ovarian cysts PCOS doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. It is one of the most common but treatable causes of infertility in women.