PCOS signs, symptoms women should know

PCOS signs, symptoms women should know

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell

Monday, June 10, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!

Dear Dr Mitchell,
Are there any physical signs of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) that I can look out for in a teenager, without getting a doctor's diagnosis? I read somewhere that women with wider shoulders (triangular shape) and hair on the face and chest are likely to have PCOS, as are those with irregular periods. My 17-year-old matches this description and I want to know if I should be worried.

Polycystic ovarian disease is a common problem in woman. It is a condition that is associated with irregular menstrual periods, weight gain, difficulty becoming pregnant, excessive hair growth on the face, chest and abdomen, male-pattern type baldness (hair loss), an enlarged clitoris, and sometimes hoarseness of the voice.

Acne of the face, chest, back, and arms may also be seen in some women.

Women with polycystic ovarian disease are also at increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus. The higher the weight gain the greater the risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

The problem is that ovulation does not occur or occurs infrequently, and as such the ovaries become very bulky and produce excess male hormone (testosterone). This is the hormone that is responsible for all the male pattern type of changes that are classic for this problem.

Sometimes acne and excessive facial hair might be present and are not due to polycystic ovarian disease. However, it is safer to do the investigations to confirm the problem. This includes a hormone profile and a blood glucose test, in addition to a pelvic ultrasound to look at the ovaries.

The mainstay in controlling the symptoms is to lose weight and achieve your ideal weight for height. This will help to reduce the risk for diabetes mellitus in later life.

Diet and exercise will also help in maintaining your ideal weight for height. The use of Metformin and hormones to reduce the excessive male hormones will also help to reduce the symptoms, control acne, and decrease the excessive hair growth. This will also improve the chances of becoming pregnant in the long term.

Consult your doctor, who will advise you further.

Best regards.

Dr Sharmaine Mitchell is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver.com ; write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Ave, Kingston 5; or fax to 876-968-2025. All responses are published. Dr Mitchell cannot provide personal responses.


The contents of this article are for informational purposes only, and must not be relied upon as an alternative to medical advice or treatment from your own doctor.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon