PCOS UK (Verity)
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Confusion over PCOS diagnosis, periods stopped

Hi everyone

Around 9 months ago, I had an abdominal scan and was told that I have polycystic ovaries. At the time I was having regular periods, (although they would vary by several days - could be from 28 to 37 days but usually around 31-34) but they were sometimes painful (not debilitating pain but this is the reason I went to get checked out) I was kind of surprised because I didn't seem to have any of the other 'classic' symptoms such as hair growth, acne, weight gain etc. Also, I'd had a blood test to accompany the scan, which showed my blood sugar and hormonal levels to be within normal ranges.

Recently things have started to change a bit though. My last period was 48 days ago, and I've never skipped a cycle. The period was also extremely short, only a half day of bleeding, unusual for me. There was some red but it was mostly dark brown blood. I don't even know whether to count it as a proper period at all.

Since then I've been having symptoms like a mild to moderate pain in the left side of lower abdomen which comes and goes, sore breasts, fatigue, sleep disturbances, acne, dry skin on certain parts of my face, several weeks of nausea and bowel disturbances (which has pretty much gone now), gas, aches and pains, the odd headache and generally feeling run down, and mentally I've been bit low and emotional. Theres no sign of my period although sometimes I get a 'heavy' feeling like theres something going on down there.

I am in my final year of a masters course so I'm experiencing some stress, but stress has not disturbed my periods before. Its confusing because some of the symptoms feel like they could be attributed to some kind of virus, and it is the middle of winter.

I'm not pregnant and I'm not on any form of hormonal birth control, and I'm 28. My lifestyle and diet are not super unhealthy, I eat reasonably well and I'm fairly active.

Could someone with experience of PCOS please advise if this type of thing is typical of the condition? I am due to have another ultrasound to see if I have a cyst on my left side (the side with the cramps) Is it possible for a cyst (or a PC ovary) to cause hormonal disturbances that could stop your periods for some time? Can PCOS lead to the growth of larger cysts? Could cysts getting worse be the cause of the recent physical symptoms that I described?

Sorry if these seem like obvious questions, but my doctors were not particularly helpful and after my first examination they only told me 'theres no cure' and to 'avoid carbs'.

2 Replies
oldestnewest

Hi

I have been fighting the symptoms of PCOS for many years, and I am reaching the menopausal stage, and it does not end there. There is no size fits all to the affects of this metabolic condition. You can have cysts on the ovary, but not be considered PCOS. The diagnosis of PCOS is usually made if you also have a number of the other associated issues. With PCOS It is usual to have a lack of monthly cycles, and is partly why the first course of treatment is usually the pill to regulate your cycles. The cysts are not the issue, they are caused by the hormonal imbalance. It is true that there is currently no cure for this condition and this is not likely to change in the near future. Since I was diagnosed it is believed that it is actually the way your body deals with insulin that may be the cause of this illness. It does appear that the most you can do is to try to limit processed carbs i.e bread, white rice, pasta, sugar and white wine. Any carbs you do eat should be wholegrain as these do not convert to sugar as quickly. Stay active and get your bloods checked annually for your cholesterol level.

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I would ask to be referred to an endocrinologist as pcos is their area, if you are getting bad pain then it could be that you have endometriosis as well as it is not uncommon to have both conditions. Pain generally isn't a pcos symptom (even though GP's say it is but is more down to endo). Stick to a low GI diet as this should help to a degree, carbs are fine just avoid the white ones. The cysts on the ovaries are follicles (name is misleading) and tend to disperse back into the body naturally. Proper cysts can grow large and can burst and cause extreme pain when they do, or can be removed prior to busting. I would up your vitamin D as it is quite common for us to be low in this which can be adding to the fatigue. I eat live yoghurt every day (easiyo that I make myself) and I am certain that a good gut bacteria is key to keeping you healthy (I do full fat greek style) none of the low fat stuff as they are full of sugar. Have you noticed if you have put on any weight as this can trigger the pcos symptoms further. Your periods may be a bit more erratic due to stress or it could be that your body is becoming more pcos.

I am on the combined pill and for me it controls my symptoms pretty well. Just ensure you have the 4 periods a year to keep your uterus healthy, erratic periods is pcos really (I was unusual in that I had relatively regular periods but rarely ovulated) so we are all very different!!

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