Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms tend to start gradually. Often, hormone changes that lead to PCOS start in the early teens, after the first menstrual period. Symptoms may be especially noticeable after a weight gain.
With PCOS, you may have only a few symptoms or many symptoms. It is common for PCOS symptoms to be mistaken for other medical problems.

Early symptoms

Early symptoms of PCOS include:
  • Few or no menstrual periods camera. This can range from less than nine menstrual cycles in a year (more than 35 days between cycles) to no menstrual periods.2 Some women with PCOS have regular periods but are not ovulating every month. This means that their ovaries are not releasing an egg each month.
  • Heavy, irregular vaginal bleeding. About 30% of women with PCOS have this symptom.3
  • Hair loss from the scalp and hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, back, stomach, thumbs, or toes. About 70% of women in the United States with PCOS complain of these hair problems caused by high androgen levels.4
  • Acne and oily skin, caused by high androgen levels.
  • Depression or mood swings.
Living with PCOS symptoms can affect your sense of well-being, sexual satisfaction, and overall quality of life. This too can lead to depression.5 For more information, see the topic Depression or Depression in Children and Teens.

Gradual symptoms

PCOS symptoms that may develop gradually include:
High blood pressure may be more common in women who have PCOS, especially if they are very overweight. Your doctor will check your blood pressure.
The most common reasons that first bring women with PCOS to a doctor include:
  • Menstrual problems.
  • Male-type hair growth (hirsutism) on the face and body.
  • Infertility.
  • Weight gain or upper body obesity.

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