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The skin is often a depiction of what is going on inside your body. In the case of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), acne, hair loss or excessive body or facial hair growth, or patches on the skin can be a warning.

Blocked ovaries

While hair loss and skin irregularities are a more perceptible way of identifying PCOS, there are more features you can observe. Among these are polycystic ovaries (ovaries develop multiple small follicles and don’t often produce eggs), insulin resistance (cells don’t respond effectively to insulin), menstrual irregularities, and obesity.

The exact cause of PCOS is not completely understood, but scientific research points to hormonal imbalance, especially high testosterone levels and insulin resistance. PCOS is also the known leading cause of infertility in women. It affects the ovulation cycle, effectively disabling pregnancy. Due to the variations of this syndrome, it often comes with different symptoms for different women, making it hard to diagnose.

There’s no single test that can diagnose PCOS, so it requires a series of imaging and tests to confirm. The lab tests involve measuring various hormonal levels, and imaging may include an ultrasound of the ovaries. If you suspect that you have PCOS, it is advisable to work with an experienced team, including gynecologists, physicians, dermatologists, and endocrinologists, to get the right diagnosis.

Acne caused by PCOS often flares on the lower part of the face, including the chin, jawline, and upper neck. The acne lesions are also often bigger, deeper, and much harder to resolve. They are also much more severe around the menstrual period. 

Using birth control to treat acne

Doctors suggest using birth control pills or spironolactone to treat acne associated with PCOS. When used on the right patients, these methods are very effective against acne and have no contradictions.

Excessive hair growth in areas that don’t usually have that much hair is another sign of PCOS. The condition, also known as hirsutism, can affect the abdomen, chin, chest, or back. The scalp, on the other hand, loses hair by balding or hair thinning. These hair conditions are both caused by testosterone.