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The Signs & Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

By now you’re likely aware that your hormones have a huge impact on your body. Hormones govern a wide range of essential bodily functions—from metabolism to hair growth and from acne to menstruation. However, in female patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), male hormones (or androgens) become imbalanced and can cause serious complications, and even increase the risk of certain chronic diseases, like type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimate that roughly 1 in 20 women in their childbearing years (that’s 5 million U.S. women) have PCOS. A combination of the following symptoms may indicate PCOS…

1. Adult Acne

You did your time as a teenager with acne, however, you were hoping that by your mid-30’s the pimples would be gone for good. Akin to acne during puberty—acne in adulthood is often a sign of hormone imbalance. Particularly if pimples flare up in “hormonally sensitive” areas like the upper neck, cheeks, jawline, or lower third on the face.

According to Dr. Bethanee Schlosser, MD, director of the women’s skin health program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, high levels of androgen hormones in PCOS patients will spur acne outbreaks. Dr. Schlosser explains, “Any female patient who presents to me with either persistent acne…past the age of 25…or starting after age 25…I evaluate for PCOS.”

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