Case Study: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Learn what you need to know about PCOS, the most common cause of irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, and problems with infertility in young women.
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Bella is a 31 year old nervous gal who came to see me because she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant, but have not been successful. She has been so afraid that she will never have kids that she started to cry in my office. Her husband has another child from a previous relationship, so she worried that there is “something wrong” with her.
Why Can’t You Get Pregnant?
Problems conceiving are actually quite common. It’s not always as easy to get pregnant as television makes it seem. In fact, it takes the average healthy couple an average of one year to get pregnant. Yep, that’s right--that means some get pregnant before one year, and some take a tad longer than one year.
Bella told me that she had been off birth control and trying for about two years, so I knew it was possible that there was more going on.
Once I dug a little deeper, I learned that Bella’s periods have “always” been irregular since the very beginning. She does get her periods, but perhaps once every one to three months; and during a time when she gained 10 pounds, she went as long as six months without a period.
What Causes Irregular Periods?
The top cause of irregular periods in young women such as Bella is something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The name is a misnomer - meaning that “cysts in the ovaries” is not a defining feature of this condition. Many women have ovarian cysts, but don’t have PCOS. So what are the PCOS defining features, then?