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PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is caused by an imbalance of hormones that can cause infertility by interfering with ovulation. Although it only affects five to ten percent of women around the ages of 20 to 30 in the U.S., it is the leading cause of infertility.

Here are symptoms:

Irregular periods: This is the most common symptom of PCOS. Women may miss their periods frequently or completely. Some women may not have menstrual periods at all.

Higher levels of androgen: Androgens are male hormones and may be elevated in women with PCOS. This includes physical signs such as facial and body hair, increased acne and male-pattern baldness.

The cause of PCOS is still unknown, but women with the condition can develop other complications, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and even depression or anxiety.

If you start to notice symptoms, consult with your doctor immediately, even if you don’t have plans for having children. Untreated PCOS can cause health problems other than infertility, such as cancer and heart disease. The majority of women, about 85 percent, will be able to ovulate again once treated.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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