A persistent irregular menstrual cycle is the most common symptom of PCOS.
The disorder triggers a testosterone-overload in the body. This excess testosterone leads to the growth of cysts in the ovaries. The cysts prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, thereby obstructing menstruation.
It is considered normal to have irregular periods during the teenage years. While this may be true in some cases, it might also be an early indication of PCOS, especially when accompanied by other symptoms.
Irregular periods during teenage years are positively associated with PCOS and infertility in the future, according to a 2014 study published in Human Reproduction.
Furthermore, if irregular menstruation persists well into the late teens or beyond, this is an even stronger indication of PCOS.
Absence of Menstruation (Primary Amenorrhea)
This is a less common symptom of PCOS than irregular periods and secondary amenorrhea, a condition in which a woman on a normal cycle suddenly stops menstruating for 6 months or more.
Primary amenorrhea is a condition in which a girl does not start her period until she is between 16 and 18 years old. As mentioned above, a testosterone excess might interfere with the release of eggs from the ovaries, inhibiting menstruation completely.
While there are several disorders and physical deficiencies that may result in a lack of menstruation, it might also be an early symptom of PCOS.
Excessive Facial and Body Hair
Excessive hair growth on the face and body, known as hirsutism, is a side effect of testosterone overload and is one of the most common symptoms of PCOS.
The most common sites for this excess hair growth include the upper lip, the jaw and chin area, arms, legs, thighs, chest and stomach.
PCOS is the most common cause of hirsutism and accounts for three out of four cases of it, according to a 2012 study published in the American Family Physician.
Unwanted facial hair is a distressing condition to deal with. Furthermore, managing unwanted facial hair can be an extremely time-consuming and costly process.
Hair Thinning and Loss
Some of you might be losing a lot of hair while shampooing, or waking up to an alarming number of hair strands on your pillow in the morning.
Hair thinning and rapid hair loss is a common sign of a hormonal imbalance, especially PCOS.
PCOS triggers an overload of testosterone in the body. The overactive testosterone travels to the scalp and converts to its derivative dihydrotestosterone (DHT) when it interacts with the enzyme found in hair follicles.
The DHT then binds with the hair follicles and causes them to shrink. This slows down the hair’s growth process, causing it to become thinner and thinner.
This might also explain the hair’s weak and brittle nature, making it more susceptible to breakage.