What Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that impacts a woman’s metabolism and reproductive processes. Many women diagnosed with PCOS have concerns over whether the condition can cause infertility. PCOS doesn’t directly cause infertility, but the irregular period can make conception difficult. Still, because the hormonal imbalance is part of the underlying condition, women with the condition need to undergo treatment to stay healthy. The following are 3 common symptoms associated with PCOS.

center for family medicine Does PCOS Affect Fertility? 3 Symptoms Of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

1. An irregular period

One of the most significant indicators that PCOS might be at play for a woman is a consistently irregular period. While most women experience a monthly period that lasts for 3-7 days, the same can’t be said with women suffering from PCOS. In some cases, a woman may get less than eight periods in a year, and when periods do occur the time frame can be longer than seven days. And in other scenarios, a woman can have a period more frequently than every 21 days.

2. Excess hair growth

Regardless of beauty standards, many women with PCOS may experience excessive hair growth. Along with areas where hair would normally appear on a woman, PCOS can encourage hair growth on the face, chin, or other parts of the body where hair growth would normally occur for men. Hirsutism, or excess hair growth, is common in roughly 70% of women with PCOS.

3. Thinning hair

Hair loss can scare anyone, but for women struggling with PCOS, the symptom is common. Specifically, women may struggle with male-pattern baldness, meaning that hair loss is pronounced usually in specific patches or as an M shape.

Take a proactive approach to PCOS

With PCOS, a woman’s body may be impacted in multiple ways. While the symptoms listed above are common, a woman can also experience a slower metabolism that can encourage weight gain and put a woman at risk for developing sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, depression, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Likewise, an inconsistent period can make conception harder since tracking periods and ovulation can be more difficult. But women who suspect that PCOS might be at play should speak with a gynecologist or physician to develop a treatment plan. And women trying to conceive with PCOS should speak to a fertility specialist to discuss available options to make the dream a reality.