(HealthDay News) -- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a health condition affecting women that's believed caused by a hormonal imbalance. It's characterized by numerous small cysts that develop in the ovaries, and by missed or irregular menstrual periods.

PCOS can affect a woman's ability to have children, the womenshealth.gov Web site says. While symptoms vary from woman to woman, here's a list of other potential problems that PCOS may cause:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Greater likelihood of giving birth prematurely.
  • Increased risk of developing gestational diabetes.
  • Greater chance of the woman developing preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Greater risk of complications affecting the infant at birth.