Know the Symptoms of PCOS, a Chronic Health Condition
PCOS is a syndrome, which means that instead of having just one symptom, people with the condition have a collection of symptoms. Not all women experience the same PCOS symptoms – some women suffer from many; others have only a few and in different combinations. The severity of PCOS symptoms can also vary widely from woman to woman.
Talk to your obgyn or a fertility specialist if you suffer from one or more of these symptoms:
- Chronically irregular menstrual cycles or absent periods
- Infertility or difficulty conceiving (due to not ovulating)
- Obesity (greater than 20 percent over “ideal” weight)
- Sudden, unexplained weight gain (even if you are still of “normal” weight)
- Adult acne
- Excessive hair growth (especially dark hair on the face, chest, or abdomen)
- Male-pattern hair loss or thinning hair
- Type II diabetes or insulin resistance
As Dr. Joel Batzofin has found among our patients in our New York Fertility Services specialized PCOS clinic, it’s possible to have some or all of the above PCOS symptoms and not have PCOS. However, most women with these symptoms – especially those with irregular menstrual cycles – do have PCOS.
In fact, 80 percent of women with six or fewer periods per year have PCOS.
Race, Ethnicity and Culture Can Influence PCOS
International researchers have found that women of different ethnicities and cultures can experience different patterns of PCOS symptoms. For example, while excessive body hair is found among 70 percent of American women with PCOS, it only occurs in about 10 to 20 percent of women in Asia with PCOS. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to explain why these variations in symptoms occur.
Research Continues to Better Define PCOS Symptoms
Because PCOS symptoms can vary widely, it’s often difficult for doctors to exclude or include symptoms as a part of their diagnosis. In fact, when the World Health Organization tried to determine a comprehensive list of symptoms, the meeting physicians couldn’t agree on more than four of them. Further research is being done at a dozen facilities in the United States alone.
At New York Fertility Services, we expect more common PCOS symptoms to be discovered as new studies are completed and women continue reporting their experiences.
Ask Your Physician if Your Symptoms Could Be a Sign of PCOS
If PCOS is left untreated, the syndrome may lead to life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and uterine and endometrial cancers. If you suspect that you might have PCOS, contact a specialist.
It’s important to remember that with treatment, many women with PCOS symptoms improve their overall health and can go on to get pregnant and have babies.
At New York Fertility Services, our goal is to provide comprehensive individualized care for all women with PCOS, including women seeking fertility assistance. Contact us to schedule an appointment at our specialized PCOS clinic led by Dr. Joel Batzofin to discuss your condition and targeted whole health and fertility treatments.