Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women that develops during their childbearing years (ages 15 to 44). Its exact cause is unknown. Early diagnosis and treatment coupled with weight loss may lower the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
PCOS signs and symptoms often develop around the time an adolescent female has her first menstrual period. In some cases, PCOS develops later in life, for example, when triggered by substantial weight gain.
Signs and symptoms vary, but are typically more severe in obese women. A doctor makes a diagnosis of PCOS when a woman experiences at least two of these signs:
1. Infrequent, irregular or prolonged menstrual cycles
2. Excess levels of androgen (male hormones). This may manifest as excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), severe acne and male-pattern baldness.
3. Polycystic ovaries. Enlarged, multiple follicles that surround the eggs develop, which may result in the ovaries failing to function regularly.
See your doctor if you develop these signs and symptoms and consult about the optimal management of PCOS.
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References: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/symptoms-causes/syc-20353439. Accessed 28 March 2021 https://www.healthline.com/health/polycystic-ovary-disease#health-effects. Accessed 28 March 2021
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