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Should I be worried about PCOS if I have irregular periods?

Gynaecology

Hi doctors, ever since I started my period (around 15 years old) I’ve been having them very irregularly. I’ve never counted but it’s probably once every 2-3 months, and it’s been that way till now (I turn 19 this year). I don’t know if I should be too concerned about this? My mum has brought up seeing the doctor but I’ve never felt the need to cuz my other body parts are functioning properly, so I should be fine. I suspect I might have PCOS (irregular periods and excess body hair), but that’s just me and webmd. Anyway, I just wanted to know how important is it for me to see a doctor about this? Thank you so much!

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (1)

thanks for your question.

In a nutshell, yes you should definitely see your GP regarding your irregular periods to rule out certain things, PCOS being one of them.

Excess body hair (hirsutism in medical speak) and irregular periods are some common characteristics of PCOS, with the others including being overweight and having acne. So what you’ve told me is certainly suggestive.

Thyroids disorders are also a rare cause of irregular periods, especially if you know that you have a family history of thyroid problems. This can also be screened for easily when you see your GP.

Your GP will most likely do some blood tests, and then decide if it’s necessary to refer you on to a specialist.

I’m going to assume that there are no other a) lifestyle-related factors – eg. sudden weight loss/gain, intense athletic events like frequent marathons etc, stress, crash dieting or b) that you are not on any contraceptives either currently or previously, both of which can result in irregular periods.

But from the limited information gleaned and your age group, I’d go with seeing your doctor to rule out PCOS.

There’s no cure for PCOS, but it certainly helps to have it picked up early and managed by a doctor, so that you can receive proper advise to reduce the risk of developing problems down the line, especially if you are overweight.

Your doctor can also offer different medicines that can treat associated PCOS symptoms such as irregular periods, acne, excess hair, and elevated blood sugar. The biggest health concerns if PCOS is not properly managed is developing diabetes, heart disease, and stroke because PCOS is linked to having high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Hope that helps!

430 views 26 Jan 2018
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