What is PCOS? What are the symptoms?

by Dr. Barbara Grazette

Many young women experience irregular menstrual bleeding, which may occur one to three times per year and the bleeding may be heavy and painful. This condition often leads to the inability to conceive when pregnancy is desired. In some women, this heavy bleeding can be attibuted to Polycystic Ovary Symptom. 

Other Symptoms of PCOS

In addition to heavy bleeding, women may also have oily skin, hair in places where it does not normally occur, and severe acne which is difficult to control. Others may complain of weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.  These are the classic symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). (This condition is named after the appearance of the ovaries on ultrasound scan, which is enlarged with numerous fluid-filled sacs.)

What causes PCOS?

The cause of PCOS is unknown, however these are the primary physiological factors which are contributing causes: 

High Testosterone levels. This causes oily skin; acne; unwanted hair growth and can prevent the monthly release of eggs from the ovary which leads to irregular menstrual periods.

Insulin Resistance. Insulin is the hormone which is responsible for moving glucose from the blood and into cells.

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Most women seek help from a Gynecologist for irregular menstruation, which may be heavy and painful, and also for infertility. This is the normal menstrual cycle:


In women with PCOS, ovulation does not occur. Instead there is a constantly low level of Estrogen which stimulates the cells lining the uterus causing proliferation. This growth continues until the lining outgrows its blood supply, then breaks down and sheds causing menstrual bleeding. 

If left untreated, PCOS can progress into chronic conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, and overgrowth of the lining of the uterus which can lead to uterine cancer.  

What to do next

If you have signs and symptoms of PCOS, you should seek medical help. The symptoms to watch for include:

  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Excess body hair
  • Weight gain
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Infertility 

We at Minnesota Women’s Care offer treatments that can be customized for each woman’s symptoms and reproductive goals. 


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About the author: Dr. Barbara Grazette

Dr. Grazette is an OBGYN with years of experience guiding patients through all of life's major events. Without a doubt, one of her most appreciated skills as a doctor is her ability to listen. We often see reviews like this from her patients: "Dr Grazette is listens and takes her time with her patients. I never feel rushed and I don't feel uncomfortable talking about anything."

If you are interested in booking an appointment with Dr. Grazette, call Minnesota Women's Care at 651-600-3035 or click Book Now.