Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a serious hormone, genetic, metabolic, and reproductive disorder that is the leading cause of female infertility. It can lead to lifelong complications with conditions including anxiety and depression, endometrial cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, liver disease, and cardiovascular disease. It affects 1-in-10 women.
According to PCOS Challenge Support Network, 50% of women with PCOS are undiagnosed. That’s a pretty big deal because these women are 3 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer. It also comes with a hefty price tag. Diagnosing and treating PCOS in America costs the healthcare system nearly $14 billion every year.
But there’s something you can do about it. Early intervention is key to early results. What should you be looking for?
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of PCOS are:
- Small cysts in the ovaries
- Anxiety and depression
- Insulin resistance
- Male pattern hair loss
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Excess facial hair
- Severe acne
If you have PCOS, it might literally be written all over your face. What may surprise you is that a dermatologist may be your first line of defense against PCOS. By helping to diagnose skin issues like acne breakouts, dark patches, or excessive facial hair for their underlying causes, you can identify these symptoms and address them in the early stages.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor, Daisy Ridley, has been vocal about her struggle with PCOS and endometriosis, and how it has affected her skin. In a candid Instagram post, she divulges, “I've tried everything: products, antibiotics, more products, more antibiotics and all that did was left my body in a bit of a mess,” she said. “Finally found out I have polycystic ovaries and that's why it's bad.”
How Can a Dermatologist Diagnose PCOS?
Women who already suffer from severe acne have higher levels of hormones that stimulate oil production. Hormonal imbalances like PCOS can make it worse. If you notice your acne is exacerbated during your period and you suddenly have hair growth on your face, these may be indicators of underlying PCOS-related skin issues. A simple blood test can rule this out. A dermatologist will likely work with an ob/gyn and endocrinologist to balance the hormones before considering a permanent skincare solution.
During the month of September, let’s recognize those who suffer from PCOS and take a moment to consider your own symptoms and those of your loved ones. Call (973) 571-2121 to schedule an appointment with one of the board-certified dermatologists at The Derm Group in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, or Pennsylvania or Request a Consultation using the online form.