PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome plagues women during their reproductive years and it results from a hormonal imbalance. Often, but not always, the cyst forms right on the ovaries. Even though they are not harmful, they can lead to hormone imbalances which cause prolonged and infrequent menstrual periods, excess air growth, obesity and acne. Most importantly, one has to get a diagnosis early so that it does not lead to long-term complications such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

What are the causes of PCOS?

There are a few theories according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Low-grade inflammation – women with PCOS have low-grade inflammation that causes polycystic ovaries produce androgens;
  • Heredity – it can run in families, thus if your mother or sister has it, you have great changes of getting it as well;
  • Excess insulin – if there is too much insulin it may affect the ovaries through increasing the androgen production (male hormones) that will interfere with the ability of ovaries ovulate correctly.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms start soon after the period begins, but it may develop during the later reproductive years. There are many signs, but it may be manifested differently among individuals. With obesity the symptoms worsen. You will need to look for these symptoms:

  • Excess facial and body hair – increased hair growth may appear on the back, stomach, toes, chest, and chin.
  • Irregular menstrual cycles – this is the most common sign. There are some examples which include periods that are on a 35-day or longer cycle, fewer than eight periods a year, long or heavy periods, and a failure to menstruate for four months or longer.
  • Acne – this condition can cause the skin to be oily, thus the pimples may be very deep and painful.
  • Insulin level problems – the excess insulin interferes with the ability of the ovaries to ovulate correctly.
  • Moodiness – depression and mood swings that seem out of character may appear.

How to treat it?

The treatment of this condition is different for every person. Doctors may prescribe some lifestyle changes and exercise to help lose weight. You might be prescribed birth control pills in order to help you regulate your period and decrease androgen production.

If you recognize some of the symptoms you will need to speak with your doctor in order to get diagnosed and learn the best way to treat this condition.