Hormones are a necessary evil. Part of the endocrine system, they're super-important—they're our body's chemical messengers that coordinate processes big and small, from your metabolism and fertility to hair growth and how often you have to go to the bathroom. Thing is, they're prone to misbehaving, and problems can range from embarrassing, like hair growth in places you really don't want it, to serious, like an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

One common type of hormonal issue is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a reproductive problem that affects between 8 and 20 percent of women. It occurs when women have an excess of androgens, or male hormones. As the name suggests, many women develop cysts on their ovaries (though "polycystic" is somewhat misleading, since not all women get them).

Many women don't even realise they have PCOS, says gynaecologist Dr Anuja Dokras. That's because PCOS shows up as any combination of a number of different symptoms, and is therefore tough to diagnose. Here, six signs of PCOS you might want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

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