Unusual Symptoms of PCOS to Watch Out For
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) affects roughly 5 million women in the United States, and it is one of the most common causes of infertility. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that causes problems in the ovaries – most commonly cysts, although some women with PCOS do not have ovarian cysts. The determining factor is high levels of androgens (male hormones that females also have) which disrupt ovulation and cause irregular periods. There are also some unusual symptoms of PCOS that women typically don’t realize are associated with this disorder, which can keep them from seeking medical treatment and finding relief.
8 Unusual Symptoms of PCOS
- Unexpected weight gain – Most women with PCOS find it difficult to manage their weight. Even when eating healthy and exercising, these women often find themselves unable to lose weight and even see the scale moving in the other direction. Women with PCOS typically have insulin resistance which makes it harder for the body to convert food sugars into energy, storing them as body fat instead.
- Excessive hair growth – Due to the elevated levels of testosterone associated with PCOS, many women experience unwanted hair growth (also known as hirsutism). It is not uncommon for women with PCOS to see excessive hair growth on the face, chest, arms, back, thumbs, toes and abdomen.
- Thinning hair – Because hair growth relies on regular hormone production and regulation, women can also experience thinning hair or male-patterned baldness, especially in middle age.
- Adult acne – If you have constant, unexplained breakouts, it could be a symptom of PCOS. Many women experience acne as part of monthly hormonal changes, so for women whose hormones are constantly imbalanced, acne can be a persistent and frustrating problem.
- Skin discoloration – For women with PCOS who also have insulin resistance, it is not uncommon to develop dark patches of skin. Known as acanthosis nigricans, these patches of skin appear brown, black or purplish and velvety in texture, and are most commonly found under the arms or on the back of the neck.
- Anxiety and/or depression – Research has shown that women with PCOS are much more likely to experience mood disorders, particularly anxiety, depression and mood swings. Studies say that 27%-50% of women with PCOS report being depressed, compared to 19% of women without PCOS. While the exact link is unclear, factors such as stress, inflammation in the body, and chemical levels in the brain may be at work.
- Sleep apnea – Sleep apnea is often linked to endocrine disorders, such as PCOS. This sleep disorder can cause you to experience restless sleep or insomnia, sleepiness and fatigue during the day, forgetfulness, and morning headaches.
- Brain fog – Brain fog is a type of cognitive dysfunction characterized by difficulty communicating, disorganized thinking, impaired decision making and problems with memory and concentration. While this symptom is associated with sleep apnea, it can also be caused by abnormal hormone levels and blood sugar dips caused by insulin resistance.
Find Relief From Unusual Symptoms of PCOS At Anchor Wellness Center
While doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS, there are several factors that contribute to the likelihood of having the condition, including genetics and insulin resistance. As a Board Certified physician, both in Family Medicine and with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can help you determine whether you have PCOS and provide a personalized treatment plan to bring you symptom relief. Call Anchor Wellness today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM.