PCOS: What it is & what symptoms you should know

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Updated Feb 22, 2017

PcosPolycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is about as fun as it sounds. It’s the result of a hormonal imbalance in women and can cause painful periods, difficulty getting pregnant, physical changes and can even lead to diabetes and heart disease, according to WebMD.

PCOS can also cause cysts to develop on the ovaries, hence its name.

It isn’t yet clear what specifically causes PCOS, but genetics or a family history of irregular periods or diabetes may be factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, excess insulin and low-grade inflammation may be linked to PCOS.

These are the symptoms of PCOS, according to WebMD:

  • Acne
  • Weight gain or trouble losing weight
  • Extra hair on the face and body
  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Thinning scalp hair
  • Depression

Early treatment may help better alleviate symptoms and long term health problems. Maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and quitting smoking if you do smoke can help mitigate PCOS. It can also be treated with medication to balance your hormones.

If you start exhibiting these systems or have a family history of PCOS, talk to your doctor about what you should be doing.