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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Symptoms

Overview

Not all of the symptoms listed below must be present for a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome.

The most common features are irregular menses that ultimately result in infertility or difficulty in conception, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries. The types of irregular menses are:

  • oligomenorrhea
  • amenorrhea
  • extremely heavy flow (sometimes causing anemia)

The expression of hyperandrogenism may include any of the following:

  • hirsutism (male-patterned body and facial hair development)
  • deepened voice
  • adult acne
  • seborrhea (comedones, either closed “whiteheads,” or open “blackheads.”
  • acanthosis nigricans ("velvety, raised, pigmented skin changes, most often seen on the back of the neck, axillae and beneath the breasts." (C.A.R.S.))
  • thinning of hair (male-patterned baldness).

Additionally, roughly 50% of women diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome are characterized as being overweight or obese, generally in the midsection (Gambineri A, Pelusi C, Vicennati V, Pagotto U, Pasquali R, 2002, as cited in Silfin, Denburg, Manibo, Lobo, Jaffe, Ferin, Levine, and Oberfield, 2003).

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