What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder found in otherwise healthy women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS rarely ovulate on their own, which often leads to infertility.
When it was first discovered in the 1930s, doctors believed PCOS occurred only in obese women who didn’t have periods and presented symptoms of acne and excess hair growth. Today, we know that’s not the case. PCOS can affect women at any size, from overweight to average to thin. Symptoms vary widely and can be subtle. Symptoms may include:
- Irregular, infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods
- Elevated levels of insulin
- High levels of male hormone (androgen), which may cause acne and excess body hair
- Enlarged ovaries that contain multiple small cysts (polycystic), which may look like a “string of pearls” on an ultrasound