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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome | PCOS Signs and Symptoms

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition where multiple small cysts appear on both ovaries.  The cysts themselves do not cause problems, but the hormones that trigger their growth may cause problems elsewhere in the body. Women with PCOS produce fairly high levels of testosterone, which disrupts the levels of other hormones in the body.  This causes irregular menstruation and may stop ovulation, affecting fertility.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of PCOS below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome include:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Skipped menstrual periods
  • Periods more than 35 days apart
  • Going longer than 4 months without a period
  • Scant or heavy periods that are longer than five days
  • Skipped menstrual periods followed by serious acne outbreaks
  • Hair growth on the face or body with thinning hair on the head
  • Obesity
  • Infertility

A classic symptom of PCOS is a history of skipped menstrual periods followed by severe acne breakouts.  PCOS needs to be treated by an endocrinologist, who can carefully monitor your body’s hormone levels.

Many women with PCOS don’t know they have it.   They may be unhappy with the physical appearance of their bodies, but don’t suspect there’s a medical reason behind it.  PCOS affects one in fifteen women of childbearing age.  In young women, PCOS is the leading cause of infertility.  It is sometimes first discovered when a woman tries to conceive but cannot.

Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

There is no one specific test for a diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome.  It is diagnosed when other similar conditions have been ruled out.  A diagnosis of PCOS is based on your medical history, your symptoms, a physical examination, blood work to test your hormone levels, and may include a pelvic ultrasound.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

A Patient’s Guide to PCOS: Understanding–and Reversing–Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Walter Futterweit
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Woman’s Guide to Identifying & Managing PCOS
John Eden

Positive Options for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Self-Help and Treatment (Positive Options for Health)
Christine Craggs-Hinton
The PCOS Workbook: Your Guide to Complete Physical and Emotional Health
Angela Grassi

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Resources

General Patient Resources

  • Health Communities . com

Patient information about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also called Stein-Leventhal syndrome.

  • PCO Support

This organization is a grass-roots, volunteer-based organization, operated by and for women with PCOS and their families.

  • Med Help

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

  • Soul Cysters

Welcome to, the largest online community of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this common hormonal disorder.

  • Web MD

Overview includes symptoms, causes and treatment of PCOS.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.