(WKBN) – September marks Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month. The condition can affect women in a number of ways. We talked to a local physician about the signs and symptoms women should watch out for.

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women, according to PCOS Awareness Month’s website, and about 50 percent of women with the condition go undiagnosed.

Gynecologist Dr. Tara Shipman in Warren says women usually come in with irregular periods.

“Often, these are women who usually go several months without a period and when they get them they are often very heavy and very unpredictable,” Dr. Shipman said.

Women can experience a multitude of symptoms including excessive hair growth and acne, trouble losing weight, insulin resistance and even infertility.

Dr. Rebecca Hanigosky with Mercy Health says addressing every symptom is key.

“So there’s a slew of different things and you want to address each of those areas as much as you can,” she said.

Dr. Hanigosky says treatments for insulin resistance and birth control can help reduce the symptoms.

“If you’re not having regular periods it’s a sign you’re not ovulating consistently and if you’re not ovulating you’re not going to be able to get pregnant,” Dr. Shipman said.

But PCOS doesn’t only cause issues with infertility and irregular menstruation, it can also cause problems with cancer or even cardiovascular problems down the road.

“When you’re not having those periods you’re not thinning the lining of that uterus down. Over time that does increase your risk for uterine cancer,” Dr. Shipman said.

Dr. Shipman says PCOS can be genetic and it also goes hand-in-hand with insulin resistance.

She says working with your gynecologist and primary care doctor is the best way to treat the condition.

She says oftentimes if women can lose weight, their other symptoms can be reduced, but understands it’s frustrating.

“Women get very frustrated when they go to the doctor’s office and they’re told ‘just lose weight.’ It’s not an easy process and so we do try to work with people,” Dr. Shipman said.

Dr. Shipman says birth control can help get many of the symptoms under control, helping with the cancer and diabetes risks.

She encourages anyone who may be experiencing some symptoms of PCOS to talk to their doctor.