How Does PCOS Affect Your Appearance?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Isn't discoloration of the skin a symptom of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Doctor's response

Discoloration of the skin is not a symptom of PCOS, per se.  However, women with PCO who develop insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) can develop acanthosis nigricans. This is a darkening of the skin that look like black or purplish velvet texture in the underarm and collar areas.

 

Any skin discoloration should be evaluated by a physician. If acanthosis nigricans is found, a search is usually made for diabetes or early evidence of insulin resistance.

Carolyn Janet Crandall, M.D.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018
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