Symptoms of PCOS

Below is a comprehensive list of symptoms found in women with PCOS.  Not all of these symptoms will be experienced by women with PCOS and symptoms may be limited and mild, or broad-ranging and severe.

Symptoms of PCOS may include:

Acanthosis Nigricans

Patches of dark, thickened, velvety skin behind the neck, on the thighs, or on the vulva. This is usually a sign of insulin resistance.


Acne is a skin disorder caused by inflammation of the small oil glands (sebaceous glands) that surround the fine hairs on the face and chest.

Anovulation or Oligovulation

Not ovulating, or releasing a mature egg from the ovary each month. Without ovulation, periods may be irregular or absent.


PCOS victims can feel over burdened with the host of symptoms & this may trigger emotional symptoms such as depression.  However, the primary cause of depression in PCOS appears to stem from the hormonal imbalance.  Studies have shown a connection between negative mood and elevated androgens.

Hair Loss

Hair loss similar to male pattern baldness.

High Blood Pressure

Numerous studies have proved that PCOS-linked Insulin Resistance and the resulting hyperinsulinemia (elevated insulin in the blood) lead to elevations in blood pressure.

High Cholesterol

For the sake of simplicity, there are two sorts of cholesterol: a ‘good’ sort called high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and a ‘bad’ sort called low-density lipoprotein (LDL).  Sufferers of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) are at increased risk of having high levels of LDL cholesterol, which, if neglected, can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Conversely, women with PCOS often also have lower levels of HDL cholesterol, which is another risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


Increased hair growth in strange places (chest, face, back, lower abdomen, fingers, toes).


Difficulty in conceiving or becoming pregnant. Usually a result of irregular periods, or not ovulating each month.

Infrequent or Absent Periods

Usually a result of infrequent or irregular ovulation and is one of the most common signs of PCOS.

Insulin Resistance

The body does not respond as well to insulin, the primary hormone which helps the body use and deal with glucose or sugar. This causes elevated blood glucose levels and is a major risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes.

Mood Changes

Hormones play havoc with your moods.  When your hormones are imbalanced as they are in women with PCOS, you are much more likely to suffer from mood swings.  If left untreated, mood changes can cause chaos in your life & relationships with those around you, so it is important to address them.


Obesity is a condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to an extent that health may be negatively affected. It is commonly defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or higher.  To find out your BMI click here.

Ovarian Cysts

Polycystic ovaries that are 2-5 times larger than healthy ovaries.

Skin Tags

Excess flaps of skin, usually found in the armpit or groin.

Sleep Apnea or Snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the involuntary closure of the upper airway which causes one to stop breathing while sleeping. Sufferers are typically not awakened by the repeated nightly episodes, but others awake with the experience of being choked or asphyxiated.  Symptoms of Sleep Apnea include: chronic loud snoring, gasping/choking episodes during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness and personality changes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Prolonged exposure to high levels of glucose and the reduced sensitivity of body cells to insulin eventually make the body unable to deal with sugar. When glucose levels are persistently high, complications develop. These include problems with eye sight, kidney disease, and neuropathy, which is a loss of feeling and circulation in the body limbs.