Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a complex hormonal disorder that affects many individuals, primarily those in their reproductive years.
One of the hallmark PCOS symptoms during pregnancy is irregular menstrual cycles. Menstrual irregularities can manifest as infrequent, prolonged, or absent periods.
Elevated levels of androgens such as testosterone are a common feature of PCOS. This can lead to various effects of PCOS on pregnancy including excess facial and body hair (hirsutism), acne, and male-pattern baldness (alopecia).
Insulin resistance is often present in individuals with PCOS. This condition impairs the body’s ability to utilize insulin efficiently, leading to increased insulin production.
PCOS often manifests as skin problems. Alongside acne and hirsutism, individuals may experience the most common symptoms of PCOS like skin darkening (acanthosis nigricans) in body folds, such as the neck and armpits.
The combination of irregular ovulation and hormonal imbalances can make conception difficult for individuals with PCOS.
Insulin resistance and obesity increase the risk of metabolic complications among individuals with PCOS. These complications include type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
PCOS is not limited to reproductive years; its effects can extend into later life. Women with a history of PCOS have increased effects of PCOS on pregnancy like cardiovascular disease, endometrial hyperplasia, and certain cancers.