High androgen levels are also the reason why various skin conditions can develop in women with PCOS. Perhaps the most common are acne, which usually develops on the face, particularly along the jaw line, and on the chest and back, and oily skin. The hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT, is thought to be responsible, as it tends to stimulate the oil glands, resulting in a greater production of oil, which can clog the pores and cause acne.
Other skin problems noted by PCOS sufferers are skin tags and darkening of the skin. Skin tags are often located around the armpit area, along the bra line or on the neck. These thick lumps of skin can be removed quite easily, though, by a dermatologist. If you notice the skin around your neck, underarms, groin or skin folds getting darker and thicker, you may have Acanthosis Nigricans. This darkening is a symptom of insulin resistance, which is thought to be one of the main causes of PCOS nowadays.
This is a double-edged sword for women with PCOS, around 40% of sufferers being overweight. Obesity itself will initiate the symptoms described above in some women who would not have otherwise suffered had they remained of normal weight. It will worsen the symptoms for those who do have PCOS and, unfortunately, the hormone changes associated with PCOS make weight loss more difficult. But is this excess weight gain due to androgens or insulin resistance?
It is somewhat difficult to say just what causes the obesity. High androgen levels can make it difficult to lose weight as can insulin resistance. And while insulin resistance contributes to obesity by promoting fat storage, obesity itself contributes to insulin resistance, which in turn exacerbates PCOS symptoms.
Also find out how vitamin D can affect PCOS.
If you recognize two or more of these symptoms in yourself, make an appointment with your health care provider to investigate whether you may have PCOS. While a cure for PCOS has yet to be found, effective treatment for these symptoms is available.
Also check out are articles on the mental effect of PCOS, especially the effect of PCOS on teen girls.