ZocdocAnswersHow does PCOS affect a woman's period?

Question

How does PCOS affect a woman's period?

I have PCOS and my periods are so infrequent I sometimes think I'm pregnant. I am 28 and worried. What else could happen?

Answer

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex syndrome where problems arise with different aspects of the endocrine system and reproductive system. The irregularity of your periods is a very typical and common issue that arises with PCOS. Most of the time the reason that women with PCOS have irregular periods is because the ovaries do not always release an egg (process called ovulation) during every cycle. This loss of ovulation causes cycles to become very long. It also makes it tougher for women with PCOS to become pregnant. One treatment that some doctors recommend is the use of birth control pills, which can set cycles to be one month in length. Other issues that can arise in women with PCOS include diabetes, hirsutism (facial hair growth) and problems with weight. It is for this reason that you should have regular visits with a physician to make sure that these other complications are in check. I suggest that you first schedule an appointment with your OBGYN. The two of you can discuss a treatment strategy to get your periods regular again. You should also be tested for diabetes. If your doctor is worried that you may be developing some of these complications, then you may benefit from a referral to an endocrinologist.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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