Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- Posted on: Jun 27 2013
It is estimated that one out of every 10-15 women suffer from PCOS, which can be a problem if you are trying to get pregnant.
PCOS may present with a host of symptoms. If you suspect that you might have this condition, learning more about it and checking out the symptoms to compare with any you may be having could help.
Remember that you probably won’t experience every symptom. Some women have more symptoms than others, and it is doubtful that yours will be exactly like another person who has PCOS. If you have been trying to conceive for a while without success, and do have symptoms of PCOS, you will need to see a fertility specialist who is experienced in treating this condition.
Symptoms of PCOS
First of all, you might benefit from some information about PCOS. What is it?
PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Although normally it affects women in their reproductive years, girls as young as 11 may have it. This condition is caused by your hormones being imbalanced and can create all manner of health problems, including infertility.
It is something of a vicious circle because first one hormone gets out of balance, which in turn causes another hormone to get out of whack….and so on and so forth. The symptoms of PCOS generally start out fairly mild and progressively worsen over time.
Here are some of the symptoms of PCOS:
- Irregular menstrual periods or no menstrual periods
- Hirsutism, which is an increase of hair growth on your chest, face, back, stomach —even your toes or thumbs
- Thick, dark brown or black patches of skin on your neck, breasts, arms or thighs
- Weight gain, usually around the waist
- Ovarian cysts
- Thinning hair or male-pattern baldness
- Oily skin, acne
- Excess flaps of skin on your neck or armpits, called skin tags
- Sleep apnea, your breathing stops briefly while you are sleeping
- Pelvic pain
If you believe you have some of these symptoms, are there tests that can say whether you have PCOS or not?
How is PCOS Diagnosed?
Unfortunately, there is no single test that can check specifically for PCOS and help with a diagnosis, one way or the other. So, if you want to conceive, this makes it doubly important to see a doctor who is experienced and specializes in PCOS and other infertility issues.
Here are some things that might be done to determine if you have PCOS:
Physical exam—The fertility doctor will check your weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, waist measurement and also hair growth on the areas mentioned above, and more.
Medical history—You will need to tell the fertility specialist about your menstrual periods, any unexplained weight gain, and symptoms you might be experiencing.
Blood tests—Your androgen hormone and blood sugar levels will be checked.
Pelvic exam—To see if your ovaries are swollen or enlarged due to cysts.
Vaginal ultrasound—This sonogram may be done to examine your pelvic area and check for cysts, as well as to see if the endometrium is thickened due to lack of regular menstrual periods.
PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility or subfertility, but with treatment many women go on to become pregnant.
Posted in: Infertility Treatment