Join Date: Dec 2012
Possible PCOS but unsure
Warning: this is a long post, so apologies in advance.
I have had irregular periods pretty much my whole life - they were between 1 month and 6 weeks apart, not very predictable but not all over the place. I lost a lot of weight 9 years ago, about 30 pounds (a lot for me, because I am not a large person) and a few months after that, the periods stopped. I went to a specialist, who said it was because of the weight loss. I didn't have enough fat in my body. That made sense, as I lost a few pounds more than I wanted to. My blood test results were all normal, though estradiol was a touch on the low side. He said not being 100% regular before was not a problem, some people are just like that - as long as they come at least every 2-3 months. He prescribed Marvelon, and I took it for about 2 years, gained a couple of pounds on purpose, and after stopping marvelon, regular-ish periods returned for 3 years.
More recently, though my weight has been pretty good, when in new environments, periods stop. Apparently this is known as "boarding school syndrome" and is a common cause of secondary amenorrhea. So my regular family doctor (a different one than I had 9 years ago) prescribed marvelon again and I took it for a year, stopped, and regular-ish periods returned. Stressful times resumed, and I involuntarily began losing weight again, so I was prescribed Marvelon again. After my prescription ended, I didn't have a period for a couple of months. After about 3 months my doctor sent me for a blood test, including testosterone, LH, FSH, and testosterone, and they were all completely normal. I had a period on my own, without any medications, less than a couple of months ago, and feel another one coming soon. I am on Christmas break right now, just finished my finals - as my doctor said, it will probably come after a week or two of vacation.
I went back to my doctor for an unrelated problem - muscle strain - and there was a different doctor filling in. He looked at my chart and said I must have PCOS because it had been over a month since I'd had a period and had been prescribed marvelon for irregular cycles before. He didn't ask about my history, such as being underweight in the past, and also stress being a major factor. He sent me for an ultrasound which showed some small cysts. I am going to a specialist for further evaluation, but that is a couple of months away.
I do not think I have PCOS. Many girls and women would have cysts if they were sent for ultrasounds. It's possible to have cysts without PCOS. My irregular periods, though a possible symptom of PCOS, has a known cause already: being slim and sometimes underweight and susceptible to stopping under stressful conditions. My blood tests are 100% normal, I am very slim, I lose weight easily - too easily, and I have to eat a lot to keep it normal - I have no blood sugar problems or insulin problems, no one in my family has ever been diagnosed with this and no lady on either my mother or father's side of the family has had trouble having children. I do not have any excess body hair, my head hair is very thick and grows VERY rapidly. I have had acne at one point, which was treated with anti-biotics (Marvelon did nothing to help it), but that was also stress-related and also, it started during a time I was in a play and had to wear a wig. I am not sure how new and clean the wig was. Now I don't have much of an acne problem, other than a spot or two here and there. Who doesn't get that once in a while?
So, considering my irregular/absent periods had a cause before, many girls can have cysts without having PCOS, and being otherwise a-symptomatic, how likely is it that I actually have PCOS? I think that the doctor who sent me for an ultrasound panicked and thought of the worst possible scenario - he is known to do that - but was in a hurry and didn't look into my history properly.