What Actually Causes PCOS—and What to Do About It

By Emily Shiffer | Health

Irregular periods can be scary and inconvenient—especially if you’re trying to conceive. But a wonky cycle could also signal more serious issues with your health, including a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS. About 10% of women will be diagnosed with PCOS between ages 15 and 44.

Symptoms of PCOS range from irregular or infrequent periods to abnormally heavy ones, severe acne, and unwanted hair growth on the face and body (called hirsutism). Weight gain is another symptom of PCOS, however women of all body types are diagnosed.

PCOS can lead to difficulty getting pregnant, as well as insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and it also increases your risk of endometrial cancer. This is due to a common condition in women with polycystic ovary syndrome called endometrial hyperplasia, an abnormal thickening of the lining of the uterus.

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