It's not confirmed that I have PCOS, I'm 22 now and my periods were irregular as a teenager, aged 17 I developed a large ovarian cyst that had to be removed after several years, during this time my periods seem to stabalize a bit but there were many missed cycles, probably due to the cyst. Straight after this I went on the pill but came off it exactly a year ago. Since then, my periods have been regular (31 days) except from one cycle which came 5 days late. I was having a bit of ovary pain recently so went in for an ultrasound, there I was told everything was fine except my ovaries looked large which can be a sign of PCOS. I went back to my GP and he basically said it's not worth investigating further, but that PCOS is a possibility. I know this isn't right and I intend to see another GP who isn't just out to save NHS costs. But in the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what I can for myself. So I'd be grateful if you would share your opinions on my questions.
Firstly, does PCOS seem likely to you? I know some people can have regular periods with PCOS. I don't really have any other symptoms, I'm 8 stone, no excess body hair (the only thing I can think of that would qualify is I get quite thick, black hairs below my belly button, and I wouldn't expect them to be so dark).
Secondly, I've been having libido problems for a year now. I've had my hormone levels checked and they came back fine (which is more confusion to the PCOS possibility). Same with thyroid function. But suddenly over the past week, my libido has just returned, and not only is it back but, and this might sound strange, my whole 'area' just feels 'healthy' again. It's something I considered when I was having the problems - prior to the libido issues the skin and labia around my genital area was 'soft' and moist, and for the past year it has felt dry and 'rough'. Now it feels back to normal again. Suddenly now my cervix feels soft and moist too, before it always felt harder, and when my libido was around it felt softer at times too. I thought I might have been going mad and the whole libido thing was in my head until this happened, a big reminder of what it used to be like. But I can't even enjoy it because I fear it might be temporary. I've got a theory in my head that my cycles over the past year have been annovulatory and that this one is one where I will ovulate (sort of the equivalent perhaps of someone with 'fully fledged' PCOS getting a period after a year long absence). Could it be that my libido diminished because my body considered no ovulation as no point in wanting sex?
I'm not due to ovulate for another week. I'm curious to know what point it is predestined a person will ovulate... is it from the start?
Sorry for the length/possible nonsense of this, I'm just trying to make sense of answers GPs aren't willing to give.
I think you are very wise to find out information about the functioning of your body to supplement what the doctors are telling you. Doctors are not trained to educate, only to treat according to the guidelines set down by their profession in their particular country.
I can offer you some of the things that I have discovered recently. You see, I am 42 years old and about a year and a half ago, they discovered a large ovarian cyst on my left ovary. I am to have it removed by laparoscopy in a few weeks. Ever since I began having problems with irregular bleeding at around the time they found this cyst, I started reading everything I could get my hands on on the subject. The bleeding had nothing to do with the cyst but with long term use of the pill. When I went off the pill, the bleeding stopped and my cycles went back to normal. So anyway, that's where I'm coming from on this issue.
Libido is most definitely linked to your ovaries as they produce testosterone, the levels of which affect your libido. Usually you are more likely to experience the "softened" cervix that you were speaking of and an increased libido about 14 days after the start of your period. This is normally when you would be ovulating. It may not necessarily be day 14 and could be anywhere between day 10 to day 14 or 15 etc.. When you are ovulating you may feel an increase in libido and your cervix will experience changes. In addition, you may notice that your cervical mucus is thicker, sort of like the consistency of raw egg whites. This thicker mucus will occur both before and after ovulation due to hormone changes in your body. You may wish to note when exactly you are experiencing things starting from day one of your next period. Your cervix will also change around the time you start your period. I can usually feel my period coming on due to this.
You should also know that the pill has an effect on libido. In your body you have two types of testosterone, bound and free. The bound testosterone is floating around but is not available for your body to use. The free testosterone is what your body uses. Therefore, this free testosterone is what is most important in regards to your libido. The pill is now known to bind testosterone and not make it available to your body. They are not sure that this is reversible. Since you were not on the pill for long then I doubt that too much changes have occurred but you never know. It may be worth having your testosterone levels checked several times over a cycle. In my case, I had slightly elevated levels of testosterone when I was younger (I am also hirsute .. facial hair mostly) so the pill may have helped me. As a matter of fact, now that I have been off the pill for about a year and a half, I have noticed that I have more facial acne and facial hair has begun to sprout up again (back to the electrolysis clinic I go). Facial acne and facial hair may both signify increased levels of testosterone. I also feel a very strong libido around ovulation and I KNOW exactly when I am ovulating (I get pain during this time .. perhaps due to my ovarian cyst, I don't know). When I was on the pill my libido was practically non existent. I can therefore attest personally to the fact that the pill has an effect on libido, although this may not be the same for every woman.
I hope I have helped to shed some more light on your issue. I think you are wise to see another doctor regarding your enlarged ovaries. It may be nothing at all but perhaps you are prone to developing larger than normal follicular cysts during your monthly cycles, who knows. An intravaginal ultrasound should be able to give you more information on this.
Thanks for replying. Yes, I know about the signs of ovulation, but it would be extremely unusual for me to be ovulating this early. That's what's thrown me.
I've read alot too about many things related to the reproductive tract. Given that my cyst went undiagnosed for 3 years despite its size, I had plenty of time to do this!
I'm not really sure what's going on. I think the best thing for the time being is probably to chill out about it. And I did have a transvaginal ultrasound at my last appointment, but all they detailed was that the ovaries looked large and an odd shape, no cysts or anything.
I think that you should try to find out why your ovaries are enlarged and an "odd" shape. Enlarged ovaries are normally due to cysts that are inside of them. If the ultrasound was not very helpful then perhaps another type of scan such as a CAT scan might give more information.
Doing some hormonal testing through an endocrinologist might also be very helpful. Hormones change a lot so you would need to have more than just one test in order to see what is going on.
I do not believe that 7 months is enough time for the pill to have any effect on your testosterone. I believe that the binding effect occurs only with long term use of the pill. The only way to know this is to test your testosterone levels .. for example, when mine were tested, I had a normal free testosterone and quite a high bound testosterone level. I do know that when I was a child, the doctors had tested me and found my testosterone to be high (I am assuming they meant the free T) so I am guessing that the pill did have an effect. However, I was on the pill for over 20 years so this is quite different than 7 months.
I would not freak out over it but I would definitely try to follow up the ultrasound to get more information about what was found. Saying that the ovaries are enlarged and odd shaped is rather vague and would indicate further investigation.
Hope you get an answer soon.
P.S. Sometimes ovulation does not occur right on schedule. Occasionally I do have early ovulation. Sometimes women may even ovulate twice in one cycle. This is how you get fraternal twins which come from two different eggs (!)
The thing is, when I had my cyst removed it was by laporotomy so I would've thought that should my ovaries be full of cysts, it would have been noted in surgery? I never received any feedback on the size of my ovaries, just that they were both left in tact following the operation.
It's really frustrating always feeling like something is wrong. I'm going to make an appointment with a doctor tomorrow and hopefully find some answers.
Thanks again for your replies, they're extremely helpful.
Good luck with the doctor. Be persistent and make it obvious that you DO want to know what is going on. Sometimes doctors assume that we will put our health and lives in their hands blindly. My doctor always has a copy ready for me of any scans or tests that I have recently had. He knows now that I will insist on getting all of the information about my health and that I want to be the one who decides what is best for me.
I guess we sometimes have to train medical professionals how to treat us.
All the best and I hope you get some answers very soon.