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Top 10 Signs of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Written by Top 100 Arena on 2012-07-31
Although not much is known about its causes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a condition shared by between 10 and 20 percent of women. In the U.S. alone, it is estimated that some five million women have it. What we do know about it is that it’s genetic, and caused by a hormonal imbalance of androgens, a male hormone that females also produce. It is also linked to insulin levels, as many women who have it are either diabetic or hypoglycemic. Because of the variety of the symptoms, most women who have it don’t even know. So when the following symptoms can be found together, consult a gynecologist, because you may have PCOS.

10 Cysts on the ovaries

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While this is the most obvious symptom, it is internal and only detectable by ultrasound. These cysts can be caused by being overweight, but they can also be caused when eggs get stuck in the ovary and do not release.

9 Acne, oily skin, or dandruff

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This doesn’t seem like it’s a sign but it is. In fact, some unlucky souls have all three. However, it is to be taken in conjunction with other signs of PCOS and not by itself. That’s the important thing about these symptoms – they are conjunctional. You may have acne or dandruff, but it doesn’t mean you have PCOS unless you exhibit some of these other symptoms.

8 Weight gain or obesity, usually with extra weight around the waist

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Losing weight is always a good idea, but women with PCOS tend to be overweight, especially around the waist and hips. In this case, losing extra weight could relieve pressure on the ovaries that causes ovarian cysts. However, it may be challenging to lose weight caused by PCOS.

7 Patches of skin that are thick and dark brown or black

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These unsightly patches are caused by PCOS, not by some other kind of rash. They can appear on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs. They feel rough and look like leather. Embarrassed by them, because it makes the skin look unwashed, many women cover affected areas.

6 Pelvic pain

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We’ve all experienced menstrual pain, and pelvic pain feels similar. If you have pelvic pain you should go see a gynecologist anyway, because it may be something a lot worse than PCOS, but it is a common sign of PCOS.

5 Skin tags

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These are excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area, but they can occur in a lot of places on the body. They are small bits of skin that stick out like a pimple but are colored differently. One way to get rid of them is to wrap a string around them and pull them off, followed by treatment with a styptic to stop the bleeding. While they’re really no big deal, they are a certain sign of PCOS.

4 Sleep apnea

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This is when breathing stops for short periods of time while asleep. It’s actually a very scary sensation. Your heart begins to race and often you wake up gasping for air. This is another one of those things you should see a doctor for even if you don’t exhibit any other symptoms of PCOS. There are many causes for it, but PCOS is one of them.

3 Anxiety or depression

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PCOS creates chemical imbalances in the brain which can cause minor mental illness, such as anxiety, depression, and even bi-polar and borderline personality. While these are managed well by modern medicine, if PCOS is the root there may be other ways to be treated rather than the standard anti-depressants.

2 Hair problems

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PCOS is a cause of hirsutism (HER-suh-tiz-um), which is increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes and male-pattern baldness or thinning hair. In other words, you have hair where you don’t want it, but where you do it’s falling out. This is one of the most obvious signs of PCOS because it is so ingrained in our total appearance. Many women shave, wax, or pluck the hair.

1 Menstrual issues

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PCOS can cause infrequent, absent, and/or irregular menstrual periods and infertility (not able to get pregnant) because of not ovulating. In fact, PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility. This makes sense, as the cysts are caused by eggs getting stuck in the ovary and not releasing properly.

The good news about all of this, though, is that there are treatments emerging as we learn more and more about the disease. Metformin and Spironalactone have been proven effective in treating PCOS, as has diet and exercise for milder cases. All it takes is seeing your doctor and possibly getting an answer to the questions you’ve been wondering about your body.

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