Problems Faced By Females With PCOS

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 

What is PCOS?

PCOS is an endocrine disorder mainly seen in teenage women due to hormonal imbalances, including higher testosterone production than normal. Many studies show that PCOS has metabolic, hormonal, and psychological effects on a person that affect their quality of life.

Early detection and proper management of disease help women live a good quality of life and avoid further long-term complications like metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

Many symptoms, like irregular or missed periods, hirsutism, infertility, sleep disorders, and weight gain, are the main PCOS problems faced by women.


What are the problems faced by PCOS women?

PCOS is typically defined as hyperandrogenism associated with chronic anovulation in women without any other disease. It is the most common endocrine disorder seen in the reproductive years of women, leading to infertility.

Many women are not diagnosed immediately, so it is important to see the doctor if you have symptoms like irregular or missed periods, hirsutism, infertility, or any genetic history. Women with PCOS also face problems that affect their short- and long-term physical and mental health.

Decreased quality of life symptoms like mood disturbances, decreased sexual satisfaction, weight gain, alopecia (hair fall), and the presence of acne are seen mainly in women.

What are the causes of PCOS?

PCOS problems

The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Women in the childbearing age group can develop PCOS. The age range that affects women is 15–44 years of age.

PCOS can have hereditary components since it has been shown that certain genes have some links to the syndrome. Some studies also indicate that PCOS has an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance in many families. Obesity and insulin resistance increase the risk of developing PCOS.

What is the most common condition associated with PCOS?

PCOS is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. 50% of women with pcos are likely to develop type 2 diabetes at the age of 40. So women must be screened early for diabetes.

Since women with PCOS ovulate intermittently, infertility is common in women with PCOS. To conceive a child, it may take longer than the average time. There are chances of miscarriages too. With the proper diagnosis and treatment at the right time, women can get pregnant.

Obesity is also associated with PCOS. It is estimated that half of women with PCOS suffer from obesity. The increased waist-to-hip ratio is seen in women. Many women with PCOS have features of the metabolic syndrome, including obesity, insulin resistance, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure.

What are the hormonal problems seen in PCOS women?

1. Ovarian cyst

Not all women with PCOS show cyst formation on the ovaries. Polycystic means many cysts, but what is the exact meaning of cysts?

A cyst is a small bag in an organ or any tissue that is filled with fluid. The hormonal changes in PCOS interrupt the normal flow of eggs from the ovaries to the fallopian tube, and due to this, a small bag is formed in the ovaries filled with fluid. These cysts are not dangerous, but they lead to secondary complications.

2. Infertility

Infertility is a common problem seen in PCOS women related to pregnancy. It is mainly seen in the reproductive age group.

It causes alterations in the function of the ovaries and the reproductive system. Dysfunction in the reproductive organs and an imbalance in hormones make it difficult to get pregnant.

The changes in androgen and estrogen levels in the body interrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to changes in the pattern of periods. Eggs might also not get released at the proper time from the ovaries, which makes it difficult to conceive naturally.

3. Acne

Acne means the accumulation of fatty liquids under the skin, leading to bumps that look irritated and swollen and can get infected. Teenage acne is seen due to hormonal changes in the body, which is one of the reasons this new level of sexual hormones is increased, which leads to fat deposition under the skin, due to which we get more acne.

This acne gets rid of itself by the end of puberty. It can be treated with external creams that make the skin dry and less oily. Antibiotics are also used in the worst cases. However, some forms of acne develop resistance to ointments and also last longer than puberty until adulthood. If this symptom is seen in you, it can be due to a hormonal imbalance caused by PCOS.

4. Skin features

Women with PCOS develop skin tags more frequently than others. These skin tags are benign—small growths of skin on the surface of the body that are harmless.

Dark patches of skin are also seen in PCOS women. Hormonal imbalance and the physiological and metabolic consequences of an increased level of androgens and estrogen in the bloodstream affect your skin.

5. Thinning of scalp hairs

In PCOS, an increased level of androgen is directly related to the development of male hair patterns in women. Women may show thinning of the hair on the head but not on the rest of the body parts. This is due to the direct effect of androgen on the hair follicles on the scalp.

6. Hirsutism

An increased level of androgen also results in the growth of hair on body parts like the face, chin, and chest. This condition is called hirsutism. It can be mild, almost unnoticeable, or extreme, if any, in that the body is covered with fur-like hair. Some areas of the body, like the chest, back, abdomen, toes, arms, and chest, are likely to grow more hair.

7. Irregular periods

Irregular periods are a common periodic problem commonly seen in PCOS women due to hormonal imbalance.

Sexual hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and androgen, show an effect on the menstrual cycle and periods of women in fertile age. Women with PCOS have irregular periods due to hormonal imbalances in the body. Excess and lack of sexual hormones show an impact on periods, which results in fertility as well.

8. Pelvic pain

Many women experience pelvic pain and cramps during menstruation, which could be due to the normal contraction of the uterus during periods. Hormonal dysregulation causes pain and heavy bleeding in PCOS women during menstruation. But in a few cases, pain doesn’t happen during bleeding days. It may be due to the egg being trapped inside the follicle instead of being released, leading to the development of pelvic pain.

9. High blood sugar levels

Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. If the blood sugar is not regulated, it leads to the development of diabetes. Studies have shown that women with PCOS are less responsive to insulin because their body cells absorb less sugar in the bloodstream. Thus, sugar starts accumulating in the body, leading to negative consequences for the body. So it is necessary to control the blood sugar in the body.

10. Weight gain

Due to hormonal imbalances in the body, women with pcos experience overweight and obesity, which is frequently seen in women. It becomes difficult to reduce body weight with changes in diet and lifestyle. It’s better to rule out the hormonal levels in the body that cause the body to gain weight.

11. Fatigue/tiredness

Women with PCOS feel less energetic and get tired easily, even if they have not done any heavy physical exercise. This is due to hormonal changes in the body seen every day. Fatigue is commonly related to a lack of proper sleep, which is common in PCOS women.

12. Sleep problem

Hormonal imbalance in women with PCOS affects the quality and quantity of sleep. PCOS  affects the natural sleeping patterns of women, leading to physical and emotional difficulties. Insomnia is also seen in many women with PCOS. Many people with PCOS report difficulty sleeping, leading to insomnia. It happens when the person cannot fall asleep until late at night or wakes up early in the night and cannot go back to sleep.

13. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is commonly seen in women with PCOS. Apnea means absence of breathing, and sleep apnea is the type of apnea seen while sleeping. Sleep apnea decreases the quality of sleep. People with sleep apnea have the worst quality of sleep because they don’t oxygenate their bodies well during the night. Sleep apnea happens when breathing is interrupted for some time during sleep.

14. Headache

Headache is a normal symptom during menstruation that occurs during the bleeding days or before the start of the menstruation cycle. This type of headache often happens with fatigue, loss of energy, and mood swings in the premenstrual stage and during menstruation.

However, headaches are more common in PCOS women. The abnormal hormonal levels in the body lead to headaches.

15. Emotional distress

Due to hormonal imbalances in the body, mood swings are seen in women with PCOS. The obesity seen in PCOS women increases the chances of depression, and the quality of sleep is affected, which leads to mood swings and irritability.

PCOS in women is likely to cause depression, anxiety, and an increase in mood swings and alterations.


Above all, the common problems faced by women with PCOS are mainly due to hormonal changes in the body.

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