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Early signs you might see that indicate PCOS

When puberty hits young girls, it brings an onset of changes, and the process of converting them into women starts. This may be quite disturbing for girls who have not undergone smooth puberty and seeing others growing into spotless beauty while they still look like a kid with a lot of pimples due to hormonal changes can have long-lasting effects on mental health probably due to the unrealistic body image and standards of beauty created and preached by the society.

While some of the things are quite normal like missing your periods once or twice when you have just started on with your menstrual cycle, little zits here and there on the face, development of the female organs at a slower pace than everyone else, etc, there are some of the things that get aggravated due to a condition in women and young girls that PCOS.

PCOS is an endocrinal disorder that affects a women’s reproductive cycle and prevents regular periods due to severe hormonal imbalance. The amount of androgens or male sex hormones secreted by the ovaries is much more than the required quantity. Due to this, the hormonal imbalance causes cysts in the ovaries to affect a lot of areas such as developing insulin resistance, growth of excess and unwanted facial and body hair, acne, excess weight gain, etc. These symptoms are often confused with what usually happens during puberty with women and ignored which further leads to more problems.

While these might not seem like challenging symptoms, PCOS also contributes to a lot of health complications in your body such as increases the risk of endometrial cancer, increases the risk of heart-related diseases, makes women obese, induces infertility, creates problems in conceiving, increases the risk of breast cancer, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

PCOS starts to show symptoms to girls very early in life and therefore treatment must be started right after to prevent and be ready for further complications that arise. Since PCOS cannot be cured; doctors would only work to control the severity of the symptoms as nothing can be done further than that.

Sometimes, since there is a lot of confusion regarding this condition as it is not so common as PCOD which is a less severe form of ovarian cysts which can be easily controlled with a little medical aid and does not cause complications in pregnancy unlike PCOS, people might also confuse this with functional cysts or vice versa.

Functional cysts are the condition when the ovaries have multiple ovarian cysts but they do not have POCS. Women with functional cysts can menstruate normally without missing any month while women with PCOS may have lesser than eight periods in a year or some women with PCOS do not menstruate at all. Women with functional cysts may experience pelvic pain from time to time. While functional cysts are not known to cause any difficulty in pregnancy, PCOS can cause infertility.

Early signs of PCOS:

The early signs of PCOS include:

Irregular periods: lesser than eight periods a year or no periods at all while you are still young. However, it is perfectly normal for young girls who have just started their pregnancy to miss periods (two periods maximum). It can also mean that you can have earlier periods than 21 days, later than 35 days, or as I mentioned earlier, no periods at all. In young teens, that gap can be 45 days and that is perfectly normal.

  • Acne: while acne is a characteristic in the pubertal age, if you are suffering from severe acne even after treatments you might want to get tested for PCOS. Acne due to PCOS never really subsides.
  • High blood sugar level: high blood sugar is caused when your body’s insulin is not able to do its job. Your body’s reaction towards insulin is mainly affected by higher levels of androgens which are primarily due to PCOS.
  • Premature adrenarche: adrenarche is simply the appearance of pubic hair without actually hitting puberty. This is one of the most detectable signs of PCOS which is sadly ignored.
  • Darkening of skin: girls can experience velvety dark and thick skin at spots and hyperpigmentation due to PCOS which is mostly visible on the nape o the neck, under the breasts, groin, and back.
  • Premature puberty:  girls might also start to develop secondary sexual characteristics even before hitting puberty which is a major sign of concern and should immediately be checked. These developments can include developments of breasts, pubic hair, and early periods too.
  • Hirsutism: girls might have excess hair on their face, mostly the chin area, and body. While having hair is normal, having hair that too thicker and darker and extremely dense in the areas where men usually grow hair is a matter of concern.
  • Mothers with PCOS: if mothers have had symptoms or severe PCOS, then it is highly likely that the daughter is going to have the problems because the baby will be born with an excess of enzymes in the body which will contribute to producing more androgen in the body than usual.
  • Abdominal obesity: if suddenly you are feeling that your body which is generally supposed to be pear-shaped it turning to be apple-shaped, you are just gaining abdomen fat or belly fat which is turning out to be extremely difficult to get rid of, it is a clear symptom that there is something seriously wrong with your ovaries.

Children can have PCOS or show symptoms for it as early as 3 years and even be born with high birth weight. If mothers have PCOS or high Body mass index (BMI) then that contributes to it too. But even though these are indicators of a high possibility of diagnosis with PCOS, these children cannot be diagnosed for it unless they hit puberty or reach adolescence. Children who have congenital adrenal hyperplasia are also within its targets so these girls need to be extra careful.

PCOS if diagnosed earlier in life is helpful to an extent since the severe symptoms take a lot to be controlled and it is not easy to control as in PCOD. Since PCOS can also create severe problems in pregnancy which can lead to miscarriages or premature births or even cause risk to life both to the baby and the mother, it becomes essential to deal with it right from the start. Even if we skip the problems with pregnancy, PCOS increases the risk of getting affected by cancers. So, you need to consult your gynecologist and take the necessary measures so that you do not have to face complications shortly.

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