Around one in ten women aged 15 to 49 is thought to have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but lots of us don’t know the symptoms beyond irregular periods. So how do you know if you’re experiencing the signs of PCOS, and what does a diagnosis involve? We break it down with a little help from Dr. Ruth Arumala, Obstetrician and gynecologist, Texas, US. Think of this as your very own PCOS symptoms checklist.
Do I have PCOS?
If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you might be wondering whether you have PCOS. If so, then you’re in the right place. We’re going to take a closer look at the different polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms and walk you through what to expect from a diagnosis.
Most common PCOS symptoms
- Missed or irregular periods
- A high level of hormones called androgens (also known as “male” hormones)
- Polycystic ovaries (when small egg sacs on the ovaries fill with fluid)
As we’ll explain in more detail, you don’t need to have all three of the symptoms to get a diagnosis. Instead, if you have two out of the three symptoms listed above and there’s no other clear explanation as to why you’re experiencing them, that’s when a doctor will typically diagnose PCOS.
You might be wondering what causes PCOS, but scientists don’t yet have a definitive answer to that question. However, they do believe you might be more likely to have PCOS if you are insulin resistant (which means your body can’t regulate blood sugar in the way it should), if you have a family history of it, or if you are overweight (which means you have a body mass index above 25).