NORMAL A pimple outbreak that usually occurs 10 days before period.
ABNORMAL Chronic acne accompanied by symptoms like irregular menses, excessive facial hair growth and dark patches on the skin.
You can rest easy if angry flare-ups only occur when you’re expecting your period. However, if you have the above signs and/or have a strong family history of PCOS, it’s probably best to seek a doctor’s advice. The condition occurs when male sex hormones levels are elevated in the body.
Besides causing persistently clogged pores and skin inflammation on the face, jawline, chest and/or back, it also affects the menstrual cycle, egg production and hence fertility, says Dr Seng Shay Way, specialist in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and consultant at Raffles Women’s Centre, Raffles Hospital.
Women who have PCOS are also likely to have insulin resistance, meaning the body responds more slowly to the hormone that regulates the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. “These women have a higher risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol problems,” he warns.
What to do if you think you have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome As many women with PCOS show few or no symptoms, many don’t realise they might have it until they try – and fail – to get pregnant, reports the US National Institutes of Health. Get a medical check-up as soon as you suspect it to be the source of your troubles. With treatment, women with early stage PCOS may have a shot at childbearing – and keeping the condition under control.