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Adolescents and women with PCOS are also at higher risk for depression and anxiety. Women with PCOS, especially who are overweight, may experience pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, preterm delivery, or pre-eclampsia.

Insulin resistance or elevated insulin levels may worsen androgen excess. Abnormalities in how the brain or pituitary gland communicate with the ovaries may also lead to androgen overproduction. Other hormones from the ovary or fat tissue may also be involved. PCOS seems to be inherited. Female relatives or children of patients with PCOS are at increased risk for having PCOS. Environmental risk factors, including low birth weight, rapid weight gain in infancy, early pubic hair and puberty development, childhood obesity, excess adult weight, and unhealthy lifestyle, are also important and may interact with genes to lead to PCOS (called epigenetics).

Along with irregular periods, the first signs of PCOS may be the growth of facial and male-patterned body hair, thinning scalp hair, acne, and weight gain. Weight gain, however, is not always present. Normal-weight women can also have PCOS. In addition to assessing signs and symptoms of PCOS, medical providers take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and check blood hormone levels (including testosterone). They may also perform an ovarian ultrasound. Other tests looking for complication of PCOS may also be done, such as glucose tolerance test or a mental health screening survey.

Other disorders that mimic the clinical features of PCOS should be exclude: thyroid disease, high prolactin levels, and non-classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia. While PCOS is not curable, symptoms are treatable with medications and changes in diet and exercise.

Hormonal imbalances can be treated with birth control pills, androgen blocking medications, or medications that help the body use insulin better. Medications that help the body respond better to insulin may also be helpful. For women whose infertility problems are not resolved with lifestyle changes alone, medications that improve ovulation (fertility drugs) may be helpful.

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About Us Search Submit Search magnifying glass icon Menu Close What is Endocrinology. Pacientes y Cuidadores Search Submit Search magnifying glass icon Home Diseases and Conditions PCOS More in this section What is Endocrinology. Signs of PCOS include: Male hormone (androgen) excess Elevated testosterone levels in blood Clinical signs of androgen excess such as acne, hair on face and in male pattern on the body, and thinning hair on the scalp Problems with ovulation Irregular or absent menstrual cycles Infertility Ultrasound findings Large ovaries with many small follicles (which look like cysts, hence the name "polycystic").

PCOS in Teens Teens with PCOS may have slightly different signs and symptoms. Editor(s): Christine Burt Solorzano, M. About this Content The Hormone Health Network is the public education affiliate of the Endocrine Society dedicated to helping both patients and doctors find information on the prevention, treatment and cure of hormone-related conditions.

Visit the Endocrine Society Ensuring the Quality of our Content All Network materials, including the content on this site, are reviewed by experts in the field of endocrinology to ensure the most balanced, accurate, and relevant information available. More about our content policy Advertisements and Site Content Paid advertisements appear on the Hormone Health Network.

Terms and Policies Hormone Headlines Sign-up to receive our monthly email newsletter covering issues related to hormone health. Causes What are PCOS causes.

Diagnosis How do I get a PCOS diagnosis. PCOS Treatment What treatments are available for PCOS. Center What Are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms.