PCOS UK (Verity)
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"Polycystic shape"?

I was tested for PCOS back when I was about 18-19y-o due to having bad acne and both the hormone tests and the ultrasound were clear. That was 12 years ago. I've been on hormonal contraception for 5 years (4 years of the combined pill and 1 year of the progesterone-only pill) and my periods have completely stopped since I started the POP. Before that, my periods were (very conveniently) like clockwork, both before starting the combined pill and while on it, so I never had any worries.

A few months back, I decided to have a full gynecological check-up, and, during the vaginal ultrasound, the doctor said something like "oh, look at that" at which point I asked what's wrong and he said "nothing, you just have lots of follicles". I had a new ultrasound just last week, due to pelvic pain, and this time the doctor determined my ovaries had a "polycystic shape". Once more, I asked if that's bad and she said that it isn't, as long as I ovulate every month.

My questions:

Does anyone else have this - i.e. polycystic shape without a diagnosed PCOS?

Shall I be worried about my fertility?

Is it possible that this was caused by the long-term use of the pill (especially the POP, which has stopped my period)?

Could this be a cause of pelvic pain (I got contradictory information from the gynecologist who said no and my GP who said yes).

2 Replies

Our ovaries are often larger, I think you have PCOS, I am surprised you have not been diagnosed with it, especially if you have lots of follicles (as cysts are misleading as they are follicles). The follicles are only a symptom and not the cause and can come and go anyway. Did they speak to you about endometreosis as well as this generally causes pain but pcos does not - ask to be referred to an endocrinologist as both PCOS and endo are their area.

You do need to have 4 periods a year to keep your uterus healthy and I dont think the POP pill will be helping, why did you move from a combined to POP pill. Combined generally keeps the pcos symptoms more at bay. I think because you have gone on the POP it has contributed to your lack of periods as it does nothing to help from a pcos point of view, whereas the combined does. I have been on the combined pill on and off for 30 years now as it keeps my symptoms in check, I tend to take 2-3 months on the trot which reduces the symptoms of it further and as long as I have the 4 periods a year then it is ok and generally recommended by endocrinologists

As for fertility, we vary so hugely, some have no issues at all, others need a little help and others need more, but it is extremely rare not to conceive just due to pcos, there is so much help when you are TTC, so try not to worry too much.


Thank you so much for your response! I was changed to the POP due to slightly elevated blood pressure. Before that, I had never missed a period in the whole 18 years since my very first one. I had a hormone test for PCOS about 12 years ago and it was negative. Also, I almost never had painful periods, which I thought is an important sign of endomitriosis...

PS I'm about to stop the pill altogether, because I want to just let my body do its thing now that I'm well into my 30s. I hope I will go back to the clockwork regularity that I had throughout my teens and twenties.

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