4 Common PCOS Symptoms (And When To See Your OBGYN)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a relatively common condition among women, yet so many women who have it go undiagnosed. Specifically, PCOS refers to a syndrome where cysts grow on the ovaries; in some cases, the ovaries may be enlarged as well. Even if you see your gynecologist regularly for annual exams and pap smears, PCOS can go undiagnosed if you fail to bring up the symptoms to your doctor.

If you experience some or all of the following symptoms, it may be time to talk to your OBGYN about the possibility of a PCOS diagnosis.

Irregular Cycles

Perhaps the most common symptom of PCOS is that of irregular menstrual cycles. Some women may experience extremely long or short periods, whereas others may have unpredictable cycles that differ substantially in length from month to month. Furthermore, some women with PCOS will not have menstrual cycles at all.

Painful Menstruation

Many women with PCOS also suffer from painful menstruation; this goes beyond your typical menstrual cramps to include severe, debilitating pain — often around the same time each cycle. This pain is typically caused when the cysts that have grown on the ovaries rupture.

Chin Acne and Facial Hair

Due to the hormonal imbalance that comes along with PCOS, many women who have this condition also experience a lot of chin acne and even noticeable facial hair around the chin area. This is certainly not a symptom experienced by every woman with PCOS, but it is a pretty notable one worth bringing up to your doctor if it applies to you.

Difficulty Conceiving 

Unfortunately, women who suffer from PCOS often do not ovulate on their own or will not ovulate regularly/predictably. This can make getting pregnant extremely difficult. If you've been trying to conceive but have not had any luck after 6-12 months of trying, PCOS could be to blame, and it is worth speaking to your doctor. The good news is that there are fertility medications, such as Clomid and Femara, that can help your body ovulate and thus increase your chances of eventually being able to conceive.

Despite how common PCOS is, many women go undiagnosed for years or even an entire lifetime. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to bring it up at your next OBGYN appointment. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, there are plenty of treatment and management options available, and your doctor can help you determine which is best for you. Click here to continue reading about gynecological care and treatment.