Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder that affects about 10 percent of women, but many are unfamiliar with what exactly the disorder is. If you've noticed some abnormal changes in your body that have to do with your period, hair growth, and more, you may be exhibiting signs that you have PCOS. Many women with the condition don't even realize they have it, but getting diagnosed can help those unwanted side effects in check and allow you to take the proper steps to preserve your health down the line.
"PCOS is a disorder of the metabolism, where the body doesn't process insulin properly," says Heather Rupe, DO, OB/GYN and WebMD Contributor over email. "The higher insulin levels cause many different symptoms throughout the entire body. A big symptom is causing the ovaries to multiple tiny cysts. So even though the disorder is called polycystic ovarian syndrome it is not actually caused by the ovaries — they are just a side effect."
Left untreated, PCOS can lead to other issues such as diabetes and heart disease, but with some lifestyle changes and different treatments, many women are able to help treat their symptoms.
As always, it's best to always see a doctor if you think something is wrong, but here are 11 signs you might have polycystic ovarian syndrome.