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What Are The First Signs of PCOS?

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PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a complex hormonal disorder that affects millions of women worldwide. Despite its prevalence, many women remain unaware of their condition until they encounter difficulties conceiving or experience other concerning symptoms. To shed light on this condition, we consulted Dr. Shraddha Goel, a renowned Gynecologist and PCOS Specialist in Jaipur. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the first signs of PCOS, empowering women to recognize and address this condition early on for better management and improved health outcomes.

Understanding PCOS

Before delving into the signs and symptoms, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of PCOS. A hormonal condition known as polycystic ovary syndrome is characterised by larger ovaries with little cysts around the periphery. Women with PCOS often experience irregular menstrual cycles, elevated levels of male hormones (androgens), and difficulties with fertility. Additionally, PCOS can manifest with various symptoms beyond reproductive health, affecting metabolic and cardiovascular health as well.

Signs and Symptoms

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

PCOS is primarily indicated by an irregular menstrual cycle. Women with PCOS may experience infrequent periods or prolonged intervals between cycles. Some may even have heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, while others might experience scanty bleeding. These irregularities occur due to hormonal imbalances that disrupt the normal ovulation process.

Excessive Hair Growth (Hirsutism)

Excessive hair growth, particularly in areas where men typically have hair, such as the face, chest, and back (hirsutism), is another common symptom of PCOS. This occurs as a result of elevated androgen levels in the body, which stimulate hair follicles to produce coarse, dark hair in typically male-pattern areas.

Acne and Oily Skin

PCOS can also manifest with skin-related symptoms, including acne and oily skin. The hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS can lead to increased sebum production, clogging pores and causing acne breakouts. Additionally, women with PCOS may notice oily skin, particularly in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin).

Weight Gain and Difficulty Losing Weight

Weight gain and difficulty losing weight are prevalent among women with PCOS. Insulin resistance, a common feature of PCOS, contributes to weight gain by affecting how the body metabolizes glucose. Furthermore, hormonal imbalances in PCOS can disrupt the body’s ability to regulate appetite and store fat, making weight management challenging.

Difficulty Getting Pregnant (Infertility)

Infertility is a common concern for women with PCOS due to irregular ovulation or lack thereof. Ovulation is essential for conception, and disruptions in the ovulation process can make it challenging to get pregnant. Women with PCOS may require assistance from fertility specialists to conceive, such as ovulation induction medications or assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Pelvic Pain

Some women with PCOS may experience pelvic pain, which can range from mild discomfort to severe cramping. This pain may occur intermittently or persistently and can be attributed to various factors, including ovarian cysts, inflammation, or pelvic congestion syndrome. If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider for a proper evaluation and management plan.

Sleep disturbances

Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, are prevalent among women with PCOS. Hormonal imbalances, weight gain, and insulin resistance associated with PCOS can contribute to sleep disruptions. Additionally, elevated levels of androgens can affect sleep patterns and quality. Addressing sleep issues is essential for overall health and well-being, so if you’re experiencing sleep disturbances, discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Mood Disorders

Women with PCOS are at an increased risk of experiencing mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. The hormonal imbalances and metabolic disturbances associated with PCOS can impact neurotransmitter function, leading to changes in mood and affect. Furthermore, the psychological stress of dealing with PCOS symptoms, fertility issues, and concerns about long-term health effects can contribute to mood disturbances. It’s essential to prioritize mental health and seek support from healthcare professionals or mental health providers as needed.

Irregular Blood Sugar Levels

What Are The First Signs of PCOS

Insulin resistance, a common feature of PCOS, can lead to irregular blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body’s cells lose their sensitivity to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels. Women with PCOS should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and adopt lifestyle modifications such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and weight management to reduce their risk of developing diabetes. If you have concerns about your blood sugar levels, consult with your healthcare provider for appropriate screening and management strategies.

Hair Loss (Male-Pattern Baldness)

In addition to excessive hair growth in certain areas, PCOS can also lead to hair loss, particularly in a male-pattern baldness pattern. This type of hair loss, known as androgenic alopecia, is caused by the same hormonal imbalances responsible for hirsutism. Women with PCOS may notice thinning hair on the scalp, receding hairline, or widening part.

Darkening of the Skin (Acanthosis Nigricans)

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition characterized by the darkening and thickening of certain areas of the skin, typically in the folds and creases. Women with PCOS may develop acanthosis nigricans, particularly in areas such as the neck, groin, and underarms. This skin condition is often associated with insulin resistance, a common feature of PCOS.


Early recognition of the first signs of PCOS and symptoms of PCOS is crucial for timely diagnosis and management. If you’re experiencing any of the First Signs of PCOS mentioned above, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as Dr. Shraddha Goel, for proper evaluation and treatment. With early intervention and appropriate management strategies, women with PCOS can lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to managing your health, so stay informed and proactive in your healthcare journey.