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PCOS: Understanding the Most Common Cause of Irregular Periods

PCOS: Understanding the Most Common Cause of Irregular Periods

You’re certainly familiar with menstrual cycles, which are how women's bodies remove the uterine lining every month if pregnancy doesn't occur. Many conditions and circumstances affect your period, including a condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS affects 1 in 10 women during their childbearing years. One of the signs of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycles, making it difficult to get pregnant.

If you're experiencing irregular bleeding or a change in your menstrual cycle, Dr. John Paul Roberts provides a quick diagnosis and multiple treatment strategies to help you regulate your period.

Dr. Roberts has years of experience as a board-certified OB/GYN in Plano, Texas, and has helped patients suffering the effects of PCOS. To mark PCOS Awareness Month, we explain more about this medical condition and how we can help.

Signs of irregular periods

Irregular periods plague many women at various points in their lives. A normal menstrual cycle typically comes once a month for several days as the uterus sheds its lining.

But various issues lead to period irregularities. If you have an irregular period, you may experience any of the following signs:

You may also experience period irregularities if you soak through more than one sanitary pad or tampon per hour. Other signs of irregular menstruation include severe cramping, nausea, vomiting, and any of the above symptoms.

Understanding PCOS

PCOS affects women during their reproductive years and occurs when the ovaries produce too many androgens. Large amounts of androgens cause an imbalance with the other reproductive hormones, leading to irregularity in your menstrual cycle.

Changes in your menstrual cycle may be drastic, including months without one, or they may be mild. The hormone imbalance also leads to changes in ovulation, which then also causes infertility. PCOS is the most frequent cause of infertility in women.

You’re more likely to have PCOS if other family members have it, but you are also at a higher risk if you have insulin resistance or low-grade inflammation.

Other symptoms of PCOS

Irregular periods are one of the most common signs of PCOS, but they’re not the only sign. If you have PCOS, there's a good chance you may have other symptoms as well, including:

Infertility is another symptom of PCOS, which happens for various reasons, including irregular menstrual cycles. It leads to infrequent ovulation or anovulation, which makes it nearly impossible to conceive without help.

Some women don't have any symptoms related to PCOS until they can't become pregnant or start experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle.

How we treat PCOS

Dr. Roberts bases treatment on several factors, the most important being whether you plan to become pregnant. Some of your options for treatment if you're not planning on pregnancy include:

If you want to become pregnant, Dr. Roberts may recommend ovulation-inducing drugs or surgery to restore ovulation. In vitro fertilization is another procedure fertility specialists use to help you get pregnant if you have PCOS.

Lifestyle changes can also help you deal with the symptoms related to PCOS. If you're living with PCOS, losing weight and eating a healthy diet can help you manage symptoms and, in some cases, regulate your period.

To learn if your symptoms are related to PCOS, don't hesitate to call us at our Plano, Texas, office or book a consultation with Dr. Roberts online today.

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