Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) : Know the Causes and Symptoms

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Do you know polycystic ovary syndrome occurs due to the imbalance of androgens? Well, some common symptoms include – irregular menstrual periods, ovarian cysts and hair on the body and face. The treatment options are drug metformin for diabetes and hormonal birth control. Also called PCOS, this condition may affect hormone levels of a woman.

Women who have PCOS will produce greater-than-normal amount of male hormones. This is a kind of hormonal imbalance which causes body to skip menstrual periods and sometimes makes it difficult to conceive naturally. PCOS can be the reason for growth of hair on the face, body and leads to baldness. It can also be the reason for health problems such as heart ailment and diabetes for a long term. Taking drugs for diabetes and birth control pills may fix the problem of hormonal imbalance and improve the symptoms. Continue reading to know about possible causes of PCOS and its effects on a woman’s body.

Causes of PCOS

Doctors do not know the exact cause of PCOS. Higher levels of male hormones may prevent ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs. Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation have all been linked to excess production of androgen.

  • Insulin resistance

Nearly 70 percent of women who suffer from PCOS have insulin resistance. This means their cells cannot use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas for the body to use sugar from foods for getting energy. When these cells cannot use insulin properly, your body’s demand for insulin will increase. Now the pancreas makes more insulin for compensation.

According to doctors at a private gynaecology clinic in London, obesity is the leading cause of insulin resistance. Both insulin resistance and obesity may increase the risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

  • Genes

According to studies, PCOS is common in families and many genes may contribute to this specific condition.

  • Inflammation

Women who suffer from PCOS usually have increased inflammation levels in the body. Since they are overweight, they may contribute to inflammation. According to studies, excess inflammation has been linked to higher levels of androgen.

Common symptoms of PCOS

Some women will begin to see the symptoms when they have their first period. But others will discover they have PCOS only after they gain lots of weight or find trouble becoming pregnant. Common PCOS symptoms are the following:

  • Irregular periods: The lack of ovulation may prevent your uterine lining from shedding every month. Women who have PCOS get less than eight periods a year or none at all.
  • Excessive bleeding: Your uterine lining may build up for a long time period and the periods you get may be heavier than being normal.
  • Hair growth: Near about 70 percent of women who suffer from this condition grow hair on their body and face. This includes their belly, chest, back and excessive growth of hair is known as hirsutism.
  • Acne breakout: The male hormones may make your skin oilier than usual and lead to breakouts on your chest, upper back and face.
  • Weight gain: A good percentage of women who have PCOS have obesity or are overweight.
  • Male pattern baldness: The hair on scalp gets thinner and may even fall out.
  • Skin darkening: The dark patches of skin may form in body creases like those in the groin, under the breasts and on the neck.
  • Headaches: Certain hormone changes can trigger headaches in the case of some women.

How PCOS may affect your body

If you have higher-than-normal androgen levels, then this may affect your fertility and other health aspects.


If you want to become pregnant, then it is important for you to ovulate. Women who do not ovulate on a daily basis will not produce the number of eggs for fertilisation. PCOS is among the major causes of infertility in the case of women.

Metabolic syndrome

Near about 80 percent of women who have PCOS seem to be obese or are overweight. Both obesity and PCOS can increase the risk for:

  • high pressure
  • high LDL “bad” cholesterol
  • high d sugar
  • low HDL “good” cholesterol

All these factors are known as metabolic syndrome and they may increase the risk for:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke

Sleep apnea

This condition can be the reason for repeated pauses in breathing during the night which may interrupt your sleep.

Sleep apnea is very common in women who seem to be overweight, especially if they suffer from PCOS. The risk for sleep apnea is nearly 5 to 10 times higher in women who have PCOS as well as obesity than those without having PCOS.

Endometrial cancer

The uterine lining begins to shed away at the time of ovulation. When you do not ovulate every month, the lining may build up. Having a thick uterine lining may increase the risk factor for endometrial cancer.


The symptoms like unwanted hair growth and hormonal changes may negatively affect your emotions. Many people who suffer from PCOS can experience anxiety and depression.

How pregnancy and PCOS are related to each other

It can interrupt regular menstrual cycle and makes it difficult to conceive naturally. Near about 70 to 80 percent of women who suffer from PCOS have problems related to fertility. This condition may increase the risk for pregnancy complications.

Women who have PCOS are twice more probable than women without this condition to deliver their baby prematurely. They are at greater risk for high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and miscarriage. But women with PCOS may conceive with fertility treatments that help in the improvement of ovulation. Lowering your sugar levels and losing weight may improve the chances of healthy and safe pregnancy.

PCOS may disrupt menstrual cycles of woman and make it hard for them to get pregnant. Higher levels of male hormones can cause unwanted symptoms like hair growth on the body and face.

Certain changes in your lifestyle are the first treatments that walk in doctors in London suggest when you have PCOS and they usually work well.

Weight loss may help in treating the symptoms of PCOS and improve the odds of becoming pregnant. Two effective ways for weight loss are aerobic exercise and proper diet.

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