Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Health Education
May 7, 2021
5 mins
Signs and Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Although polycystic ovary syndrome is a common medical issue that affects more than 5 million women according to the CDC, it often takes a long time to diagnose.  Most women with PCOS spend years trying to get an official diagnosis from a doctor.  Because of this, it is important to know PCOS symptoms so you can recognize them in yourself.  The more polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms you are aware of, the easier it will be to receive a quick, clear diagnosis.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that causes the ovaries to enlarge and develop small cysts on the outside.  Many women do not realize they have the disease until they are in their twenties or thirties, even though it often develops during puberty.  Here are some common signs of PCOS.


Not being able to get pregnant is one of the most common PCOS symptoms.  This is how many women find out they have polycystic ovary syndrome.  They may have had no signs before they tried to get pregnant, or the small PCOS symptoms they did show were dismissed as nothing important.

Infertility is technically a complication of PCOS, not a symptom.  However, it is used as a clear sign that there is a hormonal imbalance in the body.  If you are struggling to get pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether you might have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Irregular or no periods

An irregular menstrual cycle is another common sign of PCOS.  This can show up as infrequent menstrual cycles, no clear pattern between cycles, and unusually heavy or light periods.  Some women with PCOS have periods every 35 days or more, meaning they have nine or fewer menstrual cycles in a year.  Tracking your cycle and reporting your findings to a doctor is incredibly beneficial in diagnosing polycystic ovary syndrome.

Facial hair

As PCOS causes a hormonal imbalance, some polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms display because of an excess of male hormones such as androgen.  This usually results in facial hair.  Other less common PCOS symptoms include body hair and male-pattern baldness.

Excessive acne

Acne is another PCOS symptom linked to hormonal imbalance.  Because acne is not always a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome, it is only considered a symptom if it occurs alongside other PCOS symptoms linked to androgen excess such as facial hair.


Weight gain and obesity are common PCOS symptoms.  Most, but not all, women who have polycystic ovary syndrome are overweight.  This is because PCOS makes the body insulin resistant.  Insulin is used to convert carbohydrates into energy.  When this does not happen naturally because of PCOS, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, causing weight gain.

Obesity caused by PCOS can lead to other medical issues, including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, and heart disease.  If you have gained weight and are finding it nearly impossible to lose, talk to your doctor about PCOS.  

Weight gain and PCOS are somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Hormonal imbalance caused by polycystic ovary syndrome causes insulin buildup and weight gain.  Being overweight heightens other PCOS symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles and acne.  Figuring out a way to control your weight is one of the best ways to treat PCOS.

Need a doctor for your PCOS symptoms?

If you think you have polycystic ovary syndrome, Bass Medical Group can help.  Their expert staff specializes in a variety of different medical issues, including women’s health.  No matter where you are in your journey with PCOS, Bass Medical is here for you.  Call (925) 350-4044 today to schedule an appointment.