Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects 4% to 20% of women of reproductive age. This condition is characterized by higher than normal levels of testosterone, which can lead to an imbalance in female sex hormones.
PCOS is the most common cause of ovulatory infertility.Infrequent, irregular periods (called oligomenorrhea) and no period (amenorrhea) is a common symptom of PCOS. However, many things can cause irregular menstruation, and PCOS is just one of them.
This article explains the possible causes, risks, and complications of irregular or irregular periods, as well as treatment options.
Most women experience irregular periods at some point in their lives. You can consider your periods to be irregular if:
- More frequently, or more than once every 21 days
- Occurs less frequently, with 35 days or more between cycles
- Length varies greatly
Absent period is easier to define: it just doesn’t show up. Pregnancy is the most common reason for not having a period. Menstruation should return within a few months of having a baby, and menstruation may be irregular or delayed while breastfeeding.
There are many medical reasons for irregular or absent periods. PCOS is the main reason. Women are usually diagnosed when they have at least two of the following three accompanying symptoms:
- High androgen levels, such as testosterone, or signs of hyperandrogenism, such as excess body hair
- irregular menstrual cycle
- ovarian cyst
Pregnancy or having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are two of the leading causes of irregular or irregular periods in women.
If you are a teen who has just started menstruating, or you are about to enter menopause, you may experience irregular menstrual cycles due to hormonal fluctuations. Irregular periods can also be caused by an intrauterine device (IUD) or a recent change in oral contraceptives.
Irregular or absent periods can also be triggered by:
- Elevated prolactin levels (eg, due to pituitary disease)
- Excessive exercise
- Hyperthyroidism (hyperthyroidism)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- significant weight loss or gain
Irregular or missed periods may worry you, but you should do more than that: If you’ve missed at least three consecutive periods, or if you’re 15 years old and haven’t had your period, it’s time to do your Healthcare Provider Appointment.
If you’re approaching menopause, you’re probably rightly blaming your “life changes” for irregular periods. But that’s for sure. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider anyway. Missed periods before menopause may be due to diabetes.
Risks and Complications
Occasional missed periods are normal. However, irregular menstruation increases the risk of endometrial cancer.
All women have some level of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone). During a normal menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus is exposed to hormones, such as estrogen, which cause the lining to proliferate and thicken. When there is no ovulation, the lining doesn’t come off, and progesterone doesn’t rise as usual. The liner is then exposed to unconfronted estrogen. This can cause the lining of the uterus to be thicker than normal and increase the risk of cancer.
Remember, this doesn’t apply if you’re taking birth control pills to treat PCOS, especially those designed to prevent you from having more than one period every few months. Birth control pills keep your hormone levels low and thin the lining of your uterus, which reduces your risk of endometrial cancer.
Symptoms of endometrial cancer include pelvic pain, bleeding during menstruation, painful intercourse, and a watery or bloody discharge. There are usually no other early warning signs, so talk to your healthcare provider even if your symptoms are mild.
There are many different ways to treat irregularities or absences in PCOS, depending on your goals and health history. Some healthcare providers recommend oral contraceptives to balance hormones and create regular cycles. Metformin can help some women regulate their cycles.
Some people with PCOS can experience regular menstrual cycles through weight loss, dietary changes, and exercise. Additionally, the dietary supplement inositol has been shown to help regulate periods and balance hormones in PCOS patients.
If your periods suddenly become irregular, talk to your healthcare provider. Further diagnostic testing and/or medical intervention may be required.
Learn about the benefits, risks, and side effects of birth control pills
Pregnancy and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are two major causes of irregular or irregular periods. But sometimes the underlying cause lies elsewhere, such as elevated prolactin levels or thyroid disease. Even changes in activities of daily living can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle. Most women experience some bumps in their cycles, but if you’ve missed three consecutive periods, it’s time to call your healthcare provider.
Few things can match the growing sense of panic you may feel while waiting…waiting a little longer…waiting for the overdue time to come. Try to avoid stress and know that an occasional irregular period is nothing to sweat. Even two periods shouldn’t upset you. But three missed periods? It’s time to call your healthcare provider.