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Did you know Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is one of the major causes of infertility in women? If left untreated, it can affect the cardiac activity, menstrual cycle, other than affecting her chances of getting pregnant. Basically, PCOS is a hormonal disbalance, predominantly of the female sex and pregnancy hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This disbalance leads to formation of ovarian cysts that are mostly benign, but ones that need to be treated with medication. Though genetic factors are among the causes of PCOS, the most prominent one is believed to be the overproduction of androgen, the male sex hormone which even women produce in small amounts. A lot of women display symptoms of PCOS, but it is crucial to identify them at an early stage and get help.
Let’s take a look at some of the early symptoms of PCOS which most women tend to overlook.
1. Hair growth on the face
Have you suddenly noticed a spurt of hair growth on your face, back, stomach, chest, or even toes and thumb? You feel you are growing thick, coarse hair at awkward places, and can’t find the reason for it. The hormonal imbalance that PCOS triggers could be the result of sudden hair growth on unexpected parts of the body. Consequently, if this is accompanied by drastic hair loss from the scalp, such that you lose a lot of hair every time you brush it, or even touch your scalp. And if this hair thinning is very visible, and a sudden development, in all likelihood it is an early symptom of PCOS. Seek an appointment with your doctor.
2. Irregular periods
Women should take their menses very seriously, and keep a close tab on them. Never make peace with irregular periods, or for that matter, heavy bleeding during periods. Heavy or light periods that get over in just a couple of days are an indicator of an early onset of PCOS. Even when your menses do not follow that traditional 21 or 35 day cycle, you need to be wary. This means you are not ovulating every month, and indicates a fertility issue.
3. Breakouts on the skin
Women in their teens often complain of zits and pimples, but not if you are an adult and have long started menstruating. Of course we all have occasional breakouts on the skin which heal on their own. This should, however, not become a common feature on your skin. Too many acne on the skin, or an altered pH balance of the skin resulting in an excessively oily skin, should never be taken in a light vein. If for no definite reason you have been suffering acne and pimples, have it checked by your doctor. Oily skin and acne on the skin are early symptoms of PCOS.
4. Fertility issues
You have been trying for over a year now to conceive, but without any success and wondering what could be the reason behind it? Even repeat miscarriages indicate PCOS. PCOS interferes with your monthly ovulation cycle and keeps you from getting pregnant. About 90 per cent women conceive in the first 12 months of having unprotected intercourse, and if that is not happening, your ovaries are not releasing eggs on a monthly basis, and hence the malfunction. Visit your doctor and explain her your condition.
5. Mood swings
Depression is a fallout of PCOS. Women with this symptom either get too angry or suddenly feel too happy. There are various causes of depression, and may not necessarily indicate PCOS. Observe your body for a few days. If these bouts of depression are frequent and last long, and you never feel comfortable with your own state of mind, let your doctor know. Depression and mood swings are an early symptom of PCOS.
6. Breathing trouble while sleeping
Obstructive sleep apnea caused by blocked airways can lead to heavy snoring. You are most likely to get high blood pressure and heart problems as a result of this. Sleep apnea is often seen as among the early symptoms of PCOS, and it needs to be checked. You can find out if you have been snoring a lot recently, which means you are having trouble breathing in your sleep. Get it checked by your doctor.
7. Sudden weight weight in the upper body
Resistance to insulin or an excessive production of insulin can bring about a change in your body weight. Your upper body might start feeling bulky, or you might even develop skin tags. While your diet is in check, you are gaining uncontrollable amount of weight and do not know what to do about it. Exercises won’t cut it, and is an indicator of early onset of PCOS. The hormonal disbalance in your body can tamper the body’s insulin production, and lead to weight gain. Sudden weight gain needs doctor’s attention.