The first step to PCOS Awareness is understanding the signs and symptoms of PCOS.
The first step to PCOS Awareness is understanding the signs and symptoms of PCOS. These signs can develop anywhere from puberty to early adulthood.

Thousands of women discover they have PCOS every year. Signs and symptoms can easily go unnoticed or attributed to other factors. Also, it can develop during a wide timeframe. You might discover you have PCOS shortly after puberty hits. Other women don't learn of their diagnosis until early adulthood.

What is PCOS?

PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome. This condition causes a woman's body to create abnormal amounts of androgens, which is a male sex hormone. Most women have only small amounts of androgen in their system.

Related: What Does Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Look Like?

PCOS can lead the body to develop numerous small cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries. Some women do not have cysts, while others do! Doctors aren't entirely sure yet about the exact cause. Some women do have insulin resistance, which means your body is unable to use insulin properly. As the insulin levels increase in your body, androgen levels rise. Two additional factors include obesity and a family history of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Common Signs of PCOS

The signs you might experience will be different than another woman with PCOS. You might have one or two symptoms, or you might have several of these signs.
  • Missed periods, irregular periods or extremely light periods.
  • Weight gain: Over half of women with PCOS experience weight gain or obesity.
  • Extreme Fatigue: You might notice an increase in fatigue or low energy.
  • Unwanted Hair Growth: Also called hirsutism, women often notice extra hair growth on their face, arms, back, chest, thumb, toes, and abdomen. Hirsutism occurs because of hormonal changes caused by the androgens.
  • Thinning Hair on the Head
  • Infertility: Many women with PCOS experience infertility; it is one of the leading causes of female infertility. It is important to remember that not all women are infertile. Some can conceive naturally, while others will need assistance.
  • Pelvic Pain: Typically, the pain is associated with heavy bleeding, but it can take place other time.
  • Headaches: Because of the different hormonal changes, headaches are frequent.
  • Sleeping Issues: You could notice insomnia, poor sleep, or sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is dangerous for your health; you will stop breathing for short periods of time.
  • Acne: A common sign is acne or oily skin, caused by the different hormones in your body.
If you have some of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately. He can help you determine if your issues are caused by PCOS.