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Symptoms of PCOS

Possible PCOS symptoms include:
  • Infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
  • Infertility or inability to get pregnant because of not ovulating
  • Increased growth of hair on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
  • Acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • Pelvic pain
  • Weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • Patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
  • Skin tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
  • Sleep apnea (excessive snoring and breathing that stops at times while asleep).

Diagnosing PCOS

There is no one test that can diagnose PCOS. Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam (possibly including an ultrasound), check your hormone levels, and measure glucose (sugar levels) in the blood.
If you are producing too many male hormones, the doctor will make sure it's due to PCOS. At the physical exam, the doctor will want to evaluate the areas of increased hair growth, so try to allow your body hair to grow naturally for a few days before the visit.
During a pelvic exam, the ovaries may be enlarged or swollen by the increased number of small cysts. This can be seen more easily by vaginal ultrasound or screening to examine the ovaries for cysts and the endometrium. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. The uterine lining may become thicker if there has not been a regular period.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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