Little-known Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

· April 24, 2017
Polycystic ovarian syndrome doesn't just affect your reproductive health. It can also have emotional effects and cause issues in the cardiovascular system. Learn more in this article!

For reasons that aren’t quite clear yet, a woman can begin experiencing hormonal changes that eventually lead to what we now know as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

This gynecological condition is also called Stein-Leventhal syndrome.

We’re talking about a disorder that affects between 5 and 10% of women of reproductive age. It presents symptoms that can affect your quality of life in varying degrees.

One of the most complicated and delicate problems is, of course, difficulty getting pregnant.

It is also common to have to follow a weight loss program and take oral contraceptives to control the hormonal issues associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Today we want to dig a little deeper into the subject and especially talk about secondary symptoms, those signs that aren’t as well known, but that can alert you to this common disorder.

Symptoms associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome

If you have diabetes, are obese, or have menstrual cycle irregularities, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are going to develop this disorder.

  • A group of these symptoms must appear together.
  • You might get a feeling that something “isn’t right” in your body, that something has changed.
  • We shouldn’t see each of these as isolated symptoms.

All of them, at one rate or another, can alert you of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

But remember it is always best to see a gynecologist if you have any questions and get a simple exam.

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Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance, or hyperinsulinemia, comes from a metabolic defect that makes your body unable to use this hormone efficiently.

  • When you experience a hormonal change, it’s common for there to also be changes in insulin and its production in the pancreas.
  • Little by little an excess amount of glucose is produced in your body, something that can turn into Type 2 diabetes.

Excessive body hair

Hirsutism, or excessive body hair, is doubtlessly one of the most common secondary symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

This can happen on your:

  • Face (mustache area, temples, chin, etc.)
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Chest
  • Bottom

This hair growth appears in areas where men grow hair, due to excess androgens produced by a woman’s body.

Additionally, it should be noted, that this can happen for many different reasons. Your doctor can explain the causes to you particular case if you are seeing this symptom.

Balding or abnormal hair loss

Androgenic alopecia is a very clear symptom associated with ovarian polycystic syndrome.

Again, hormonal changes are the cause, but proper medical treatment can stop hair loss and recuperate hair health.

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Depression, anxiety, stress

One of the main problems that occurs when depression is diagnosed is that the underlying cause is not known.

  • Don’t forget that many of your emotional problems tend to have a hormonal origin, which can be easily treated with medication.
  • The hormonal issues associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) implies an internal dysfunction.
  • Excess cortisol is produced due to the hyperinsulinemia.

Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress. Stress is that feeling of anxiety that grips you and can make you lose your cool.

Little by little, this can head towards depression.

So remember: when you’re feeling overcome by your emotions, seek help from a doctor. Ask your doctor for a blood test to find out if it’s due to hormonal changes.

Elevated blood pressure and cholesterol

The most complicated thing about polycystic ovarian syndrome is that it can cause serious problems in women, sometimes from a very young age.

  • Girls just over 20 can suffer from weight problems, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
  • All of these characteristics increase the risk of heart attacks or stroke at a very early age.
  • The metabolic changes associated with the hormonal issues can cause changes in cholesterol. For example, good cholesterol (HDL) to go down and bad cholesterol (LDL) to go up.
  • Likewise, it’s common for blood triglyceride levels to increase. This can cause your arteries to lose elasticity and forming the feared arteriosclerosis.

In conclusion, the clearest symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome are irregular periods, difficulty conceiving, and excess weight.

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You should always seek a proper diagnosis and the treatment that’s right for you. 

A healthy diet, exercise, reducing stress, and getting regular medical exams all can help give you quality of life.