Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder. Young women between the age of 18 and 44 are the most-affected demographic, though girls as young as 11 can develop PCOS. Experts cite genetic predisposition, insulin resistance and higher levels of male hormones as the main causes of this condition, which can lead to complications such as infertility, diabetes and liver disease. Obesity and lack of physical activity can further worsen PCOS. It is difficult to diagnose PCOS in its early stages, due to the non-specificity of and seeming disconnect between the symptoms.
Polycystic ovary syndrome triggers the creation of excess testosterone, upsetting the body's hormonal balance and causing cysts to develop that prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. In most cases, this interrupts menstruation. In other cases, the menses can become infrequent, irregular or even prolonged. This symptom often goes unnoticed when it occurs in teenagers and young women because it is common for cycles to be irregular at a young age.
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