Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects 1 in 10 women. It is one of the most common human disorders and the most common endocrine (hormone) disorder and cause of infertility in women.
It can lead to lifelong complications, psychosocial disorders, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, endometrial cancer and other serious and life-threatening conditions.
There is no exact cause of PCOS. Women have a higher chance of getting it if they have obesity or have a mother, sister, or aunt with PCOS.
Some of the symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may miss periods or have fewer periods (fewer than eight in a year). Or, their periods may come every 21 days or more often. Some women with PCOS stop having menstrual periods.
- Too much hair on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair. This is called “hirsutism.” Hirsutism affects up to 70% of women with PCOS.3
- Acne on the face, chest, and upper back
- Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts
- Skin tags, which are small excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
Important Facts and Research Regarding PCOS