Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. If you have it, the symptoms may appear around the time of puberty. But you may also develop PCOS as part of your body’s response to gaining a large amount of weight.

There are several signs and symptoms related to PCOS and the conditions that cause it. However, there are four that may signal you have the disorder:

You may also notice you have oily skin and patches of thick, velvety, dark skin called acanthosis nigricans on your body. The underarms and groin are common places for these skin changes to appear.

And you may also have a condition called polycystic ovaries. Your ovaries become somewhat enlarged and develop many small sacs of fluid called follicles around the edges. Your ovaries might not release eggs regularly, making it difficult to become pregnant.

All of these symptoms may be more severe if you are overweight. Obesity seems to be connected to PCOS and can make its complications worse.

What is Causing All This?

The cause of PCOS is unknown, but it appears to result from a number of different factors working together in your body:

Other Health Risks Related to PCOS

Insulin resistance can cause health risks on its own. Combined with the other effects of PCOS on your body, you become more susceptible to:

If you are able to become pregnant, unmanaged PCOS can leave you at risk for gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and miscarriage or premature birth.

Treating PCOS

There are a number of different treatments available to address the symptoms of PCOS. If you want to address specific concerns related to PCOS, such as infertility, unwanted hair growth, or acne, talk to your provider. Different treatments address different symptoms, but they may include:

If you have symptoms of PCOS, especially if you’re trying to become pregnant, make an appointment with your provider by calling 307.637.7700. There is no specific test for PCOS, but there are several tests that can help him or her make a diagnosis and help you find relief.

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