What are the symptoms of PCOS?

pcos symptoms

1 in 5 to 1 in 10 women are affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in the UK.  Symptoms of PCOS generally begin in the teens but this is not always the case.  Sometimes they can start in the early twenties.  Several women I have spoken to express feelings of shock at the time of diagnosis as they were originally seeking help from their doctor for difficulties conceiving.  The diagnosis of PCOS was unexpected.  PCOS is one of the most common reasons for female infertility. 

PCOS Symptoms

You may only experience one or two of these, but have a look at the list below and see if you identify with any of them:

  • Hirsutism – excess facial or body hair
  • Irregular periods or no periods
  • Painful and heavy periods
  • Light periods
  • Pelvic pain
  • Difficulties getting pregnant
  • Thinning hair
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Weight gain
  • Acne

You can have PCOS without having cysts on the ovaries and it’s possible to have ovarian cysts without symptoms of PCOS. 

Why some women experience PCOS and others don’t is unknown.  It can run in families.  And having excess weight can be a risk but slimmer ladies also have PCOS.  Excess insulin and low levels of Inflammation can be part of the PCOS condition.  Which means, women with PCOS may have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.


A diagnosis is made by looking at signs and symptoms.  According to the NHS website you must meet 2 out of 3 of their given criteria:

  1. Irregular periods or infrequent periods (this shows ovulation is not happening as it should be every month)
  2. Signs of excess testosterone (blood test or visible signs for example excess hair growth around the chin)
  3. A scan showing cysts on the ovaries

The pharmaceutical treatment prescribed for PCOS includes metformin to reduce insulin levels in the blood and oral contraceptives.

Many women would rather try natural remedies first, because taking oral contraceptives and metformin doesn’t feel like it’s addressing the root cause of this condition.  Holistic treatment is a real, long term solution and requires changes in diet, exercise and herbal medicine.  The herbs for PCOS are numerous and herbal prescriptions will be different for every individual as will the doses.  Read How to Treat PCOS Naturally for more info. 

If you need help with PCOS and would like to try the natural route, please do get in touch.