PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, affects 1-in-10 women, therefore making it a common reason for infertility. Its well worth knowing the symptoms of the condition and making an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you may be affected.

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The most well-known of PCOS symptoms is undoubtedly infertility, especially upsetting for young women looking to conceive. As with any medical condition, symptoms differ to each individual person. Not everyone has the same problems, but rather will have a varying selection of the lot.

The three main symptoms of this genetic condition are:

  1. Irregular or missed periods are the initial symptoms.

  2. High levels of male hormones in the body- androgens.

  3. Once having a scan, small cysts in the ovaries are a symptom of PCOS.

However, there are more symptoms too:

  1. Insulin resistance which disrupts healthy metabolism- thus leading to weight gain.

  2. Severe acne is a symptom of PCOS.

  3. PCOS affects hair growth in two ways:
    – Hirsutism- excessive hair growth- particularly on the face, chin, back and chest
    – Androgenetic alopecia- significant hair loss- male pattern hair loss.

  1. Women with anxiety and depression can be found to have PCOS.

  1. Darkening of the skin in particular areas of the body such as the creases in the neck, in the groin and under the breasts

  2. Due to hormone changes, headaches are often a symptom of PCOS

So, how can PCOS affect the female body?

As a common cause of infertility, PCOS affects the reproductive system. It creates an imbalance of in the sex hormones, which prevents the eggs from fully maturing. If the eggs cannot mature, they can’t ovulate, meaning the woman is left infertile. High levels of male hormones disrupt the menstrual cycle, causing women with PCOS to have fewer periods.

Metabolic syndrome is a serious potential outcome from PCOS. It can increase the risk of the patient getting diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It is also linked to being overweight, therefore one of the first steps a doctor will take in treating PCOS is looking at lifestyle choices, and often changing them. A healthy diet is crucial for not only improving the complications of PCOS, but for those trying for a baby, can help improve the chances of fertility.

Although there is no cure for PCOS yet, there are many ways to alleviate or even eliminate the symptoms, and in terms of fertility, there are alternative fertility treatments that exist.

* This is a collaborative post


  1. It took years for doctors to diagnose me with PCOS. They didn’t seem to know much about it 20+ years ago. Thank you for helping get the information out there!

  2. After weeks of investigating, going backwards and forwards to the doctors because I’ve not had a period for 4 months yet I’m not pregnant (but would love to be) I’ve had to have a blood test, hormone profile done and lastly a scan. Yesterday i had to see the doctor for my results and I finally found out what’s been causing this and it’s PCOS

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