Given that period disruption with PCOS is due to irregular or absent ovulation, it is not surprising that it is a common cause of infertility. It is not usually 100% absolute, and some women with PCOS will ovulate normally, some will ovulate less frequently (leading to a delay to pregnancy) and some will not ovulate at all, meaning that for some infertility treatment, likely fertility drugs such as Clomid, will definitely be necessary.
Women who have already been diagnosed with PCOS may not be too surprised by their fertility problems. However, a number of women may not even realize that they have PCOS until they start trying to conceive. While 75% of women with PCOS do have menstrual problems, 25% do not. In these women, perhaps they have always had regular periods but never realized that they were not ovulating. Others may have had the occasional irregular period, but felt that it was nothing to be too concerned about, assuming a skipped period was due to stress or some other factor. Regardless of the reason, some women will only learn of their PCOS condition when they are investigated for infertility problems.
Changes in Hair Growth
It is not unusual for women with polycystic ovary syndrome to complain of excess hair growth on their face and body or to experience the exact opposite problem: a loss of hair. In either instance, the reason for the change in hair growth is, yet again, too much androgen hormones.
Androgens are a group of hormones, such as testosterone, found at high levels in men but present in women at much lower levels. PCOS sufferers, though, often have higher than normal levels of androgens. These excess hormones can cause a disorder known as hirsutism. Women with hirsutism typically have thicker and darker hair growing on their face and body. The areas most commonly affected are the mustache and beard, though the extra hair growth may also be noticed on the chest, back, stomach, arms, legs, and pubic region. While not all women with PCOS will have hirsutism, a whopping 95% of those women with hirsutism will have PCOS.
Thinning of the hair can also occur in women with PCOS and some may experience male-pattern baldness. This type of hair loss is known as “androgenic alopecia.” Although alopecia is a disorder that results in complete hair loss, the type of alopecia that affects PCOS sufferers is caused by an increase in androgen levels and may be controlled through the use medications to even out hormone levels.