Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common female health problem. As such, it’s a condition that’s often discussed, but very rarely fully understood. Many women know that PCOS is associated with irregular periods and potential fertility complications, but they’re unaware that this condition can manifest in unexpected ways, too, and they don’t know what the unusual symptoms of PCOS to look out for are.
Whether you’re of childbearing age and plan on conceiving or merely want to ensure that your ovaries are healthy, do you know the unusual symptoms of PCOS or other endocrine issues? If not, here’s a look at 6 unusual symptoms of PCOS that may serve as caution signs that you have an endocrine disorder.
1. Hair Issues
Maybe you’ve noticed patches of hair growing on your face where they shouldn’t be. Or perhaps when you go to brush your hair, you see that your hair isn’t quite as thick as it used to be. From balding to excess facial hair, PCOS may produce unwanted hair-related issues in women experiencing this disorder.
PCOS commonly manifests as a result of hormonal irregularities. Because hair growth relies on regular hormone production and regulation, it’s no wonder many women notice unwanted hair growth — or loss — while experiencing PCOS.
2. Anxiety and Depression
Research studies show that women with PCOS are much more likely to experience mood disorders, including depression, anxiety and mood swings. Although the link between mental health and the endocrine system is still unclear, many researchers believe that the hormones play a vital role in the formation of these issues.
Be sure to get screened for mental health disorders to receive the diagnosis and accompanying treatment you deserve. When you enroll in the proper treatment plan, you’ll increase your likelihood of experiencing relief.
3. Mental Fogginess
Do you ever put your phone down and forget where you placed it just minutes later? Or maybe you find yourself walking into the kitchen and immediately fail to remember what motivated you to do so in the first place. You can’t shake a feeling of mental fuzziness — and PCOS may be why.
PCOS is closely linked to abnormal hormones, blood sugar level dips and insulin resistance, all of which play their fair share in messing with your brain. If you’re struggling to maintain your concentration or can’t seem to focus on one task at a time, there may be an underlying ovarian issue at play.
4. Sleep Apnea
Do you have an overwhelming feeling of tiredness that you can’t seem to shake throughout the day? For many patients with sleep apnea, this pesky condition induces lethargy, fatigue and overall feelings of weariness that may last all day.
While this condition is common, it’s not always easy to define the root cause. However, medical professionals frequently view cases of this condition linked to underlying endocrine disorders — including PCOS.
5. Skin discoloration
Do you have a dark patch of skin under your arms or on the back on your neck? While you may shrug this issue off as a mere cosmetic annoyance, it may serve as a warning sign of PCOS, too.
While you’re unlikely to have heard of this common yet unusual symptom of PCOS, skin darkening is likely to manifest for patients with this disorder because they possess abnormal levels of insulin and hormones in their blood. If you notice patches of dark skin on your body that seem to manifest without any valid cause, consider scheduling an appointment with your gynecologist for further evaluation.
6. Unexpected Weight Gain
One unusual yet common symptom for women with PCOS is sudden weight gain. You may find yourself eating similar foods and engaging in the same level of physical activity. Yet for some reason, you’re finding it harder to slide into your favorite pair of skinny jeans with every passing day.
If PCOS is causing you to gain weight that won’t shed even with exercise, consider adding healthy fats to your diet. Insulin resistance, which is common in patients with PCOS, makes it harder for the body to convert sugars from food into energy — storing them as body fat instead. When you ingest healthy fats and foods, your body has an easier time maintaining its current weight.
Do you have any of the unusual symptoms of PCOS noted above? Although PCOS is a common disorder, it’s not as easy to diagnosis as it should be. If you think any of the abnormalities occurring in your body stem from PCOS, consider reaching out to a doctor or gynecologist for further evaluation.