Symptoms - Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS usually happen in your late teens or early 20s.

Not all women with PCOS get all of the symptoms. Some women get more severe symptoms than others.

Some women do not get the physical symptoms. But they might have problems with their periods, or difficulty in getting pregnant.

Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • irregular periods or no periods at all
  • difficulty getting pregnant (because your ovaries are not producing eggs or are not producing them regularly)
  • excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
  • weight gain
  • thinning hair and hair loss from the head
  • oily skin or acne

Non-urgent advice: Talk to your GP if:

you have any of these symptoms and think you may have PCOS

Fertility problems

PCOS is one of the most common causes of fertility problems in women.

Many women find out they have PCOS when they're trying to get pregnant and are having problems getting pregnant.

Ovulation is when your ovary releases an egg. This usually happens once a month. The egg is released into your fallopian tube. This is the tube between your ovary and your uterus (womb).

If you have PCOS you may:

  • not ovulate at all
  • not ovulate every month

This means you might have irregular or no periods and find it difficult to get pregnant.


Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

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This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.

Page last reviewed: 23 March 2021
Next review due: 23 March 2024