Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Meaning, Symptoms and Causes

Want to know about Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

What are the symptoms of Polycystic ovarian syndrome?

Are these questions on your mind and worried about PCOS?

In this article you will get all the required and important information regarding PCOS.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a very common health problem in women. It is associated with reproductive hormonal imbalance in the childbearing age of the females. A woman having PCOS starts to produce higher male hormones i.e.  androgen, which disturbs the monthly menstrual cycle. This also cause some complications in getting pregnant.

The female ovaries produce two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. They also release small amount of androgen which is also called as the "male hormone". It is due to the female hormones that the menstrual cycle of the woman is regulated and ovaries release one egg every month in an alternate manner. But as the male hormonal level rises in the female body the process of ovulation is affected. This also results in irregular periods or no periods at all. Thus it can affect the fertility of the women in severe cases.

Symptoms of PCOS

A group of symptoms is called a syndrome and PCOS has the following common symptoms which affect the ovaries and ovulation:

  • Cysts in the ovaries (Polycystic ovaries)

The ovaries become enlarged and have follicles which surrounds the egg. This makes it difficult for the ovaries to function properly.

  • Irregular or skipped periods

If your periods become irregular, infrequent or longer than usual or you skipped a period for a long time then it can be a sign of PCOS. In PCOS the menstrual cycle remains much disturbed.

  • High level of androgen

Physical signs of androgen appear in females as abnormal hair growth occur on the face and body.

  • Hair thinning and Acne

Due to androgen acne appears on the skin and the scalp gets thinner. Male-pattern baldness is also a sign of PCOS.

  • Weight gain

A female put on weight in PCOS which is difficult to lose.

  • Skin darkening

Skin gets darken around the neck, groin and under the breasts.

Pelvic pain and mood changes can also considered as symptoms of PCOS.

Causes of PCOS

The exact causes of PCOS is unknown but the following are considered as some factors in PCOS:

High insulin levels

Insulin is the hormone secreted by pancreas to control the blood sugar levels. If due to some reason the insulin resistance is produced in your body it means that the body cells do not recognize how much insulin is required or how much is already present then higher levels of insulin are detected in your blood. It is observed that many women with PCOS have insulin resistance and are usually overweight or obese. Family history of diabetes is also a factor in this case.

High androgen levels

Androgen is considered as the “male hormones” but small amount of this hormone is also made by women. In men androgen helps in achieving the male characteristics or traits like hair and male-pattern baldness. In women having PCOS the androgen levels get high and they start to produce more hair on their skin.


Women who are diagnosed with PCOS have inflammations in their body which is also called as low-grade inflammation. These inflammations are linked with higher androgen levels.

Genetic or hereditary

According to research and studies PCOS have a gene or hereditary relation. In some families genetic reasons are a cause of PCOS as some genes links are related to PCOS.

How PCOS affect overall health of a female?

PCOS increase the risk of certain diseases in women related to heart and blood vessels along with diabetes and cholesterol issues. Weight gain is also a problem in women with PCOS. One of the major problem caused by PCOS is infertility.

Sleep Apnea is a condition in which a women experience breathing difficulties during night which interrupts their sleep. Women, who are overweight and have PCOS are more likely to be affected with sleep apnea.

When to see a doctor

You should see a doctor if you have irregular, prolonged or missed periods for a long time or if you observe a change in your monthly menstrual cycle. If you notice more hair on your body than usual then do consult a doctor. And if you have being trying for pregnancy long time it is advisable to see your doctor as infertility can be because of PCOS.

Is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) treatable?

Yes, it is treatable. The first step in the treatment of PCOS is the change in lifestyle, diet and weight. In medical treatment you can get birth control pills which are helpful in maintaining the proper female hormonal balance.


Womenshealth.gov: “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.”

Mayo Clinic: “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).”

Cdc.gov: Diabetes, basics,"PCOS".

Webmd: Women. "What is PCOS".

Healthline: Health, Menstrual problems, "#painful periods".

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9 thoughts on “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Meaning, Symptoms and Causes

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