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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Often Undiagnosed Until Family Planning

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that includes a reproductive hormonal imbalance and metabolism problem that can be a common yet treatable cause of infertility. It affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Even though PCOS can happen at any age once puberty starts, many women go undiagnosed until they start to encounter issues with getting pregnant. The hormonal imbalance creates an issue in the ovaries – either with how well the egg develops or in how that egg is released in ovulation – and can cause irregular or missed periods. Irregular periods can lead to infertility and/or cysts in the ovaries.

Some symptoms that might indicate a need to get checked:

  • Irregular periods
  • Too much hair on face or chin
  • Acne on face, chest or upper back
  • Thinning of hair on scalp
  • Weight gain
  • Darkening of skin along neck creases, in groin area or under breasts
  • Skin tags in armpits or neck area

Left untreated, PCOS can cause health issues that go beyond infertility, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Unhealthy cholesterol
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Endometrial cancer

If you get diagnosed with PCOS, that doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. It means you need to work with your ObGyn to find the treatment plan that is right for you – that will help you ovulate and raise your chances of getting pregnant.

If you think you may be at risk or are already experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, please talk to a Women’s Health Connecticut physician. 

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