What are periods like when you have PCOS?

  • September 27, 2018
  • General Gynaecology
  • PCOS
  • Women's Health

What are periods like when you have PCOS?

Quick PCOS Poll

Take the PCOS symptom poll and view results here.

About PCOS

Quick PCOS Poll

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects 12-21% of women of reproductive age. Women with PCOS may experience a range of health complications including reduced fertility.

PCOS is attributed to varying symptoms including hair loss, ovarian cysts, chronic fatigue, and changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Despite being a relatively common condition, the differing symptoms of PCOS can make it difficult to diagnose, resulting in up to 70% of women with PCOS remaining undiagnosed.

That’s why it’s important for women to learn what periods are like with PCOS. As it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ condition, you may be experiencing a symptom of PCOS and not be aware of it.

Let’s look at some common characteristics of periods with PCOS.

1. Consistently irregular periods

Some women’s periods run like clockwork, and some do not. But while it’s completely normal to have the odd period that arrives a day or two late, when your periods are consistently sporadic, it may be an indication of PCOS.

The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but anything between 21 and 35 days is considered within normal range. An irregular period can be defined as having eight or less cycles each year, or having cycles that last longer than 35 days.

Sporadic timing of your period may be attributed to a number of factors, including PCOS, so it’s important to get checked out if your cycle is out of regular range.

2. No periods at all

Some women with PCOS experience an absence of periods for three or more consecutive cycles. This is known as amenorrhea, and it’s one of the major causes of infertility in women with PCOS. After all, if there are no periods, that means no egg is being released as part of a menstrual cycle.

It’s a good idea to keep note of your cycle, so you can always tell how long it’s been since your last menstruation. If you notice a three month break between periods, see a GP about a referral to a gynaecologist who can investigate the cause.

3. Very heavy periods

Sometimes women with PCOS experience heavier bleeding during their menstrual cycle. The technical name for this is menorrhagia, and it’s caused by low levels of progesterone associated with PCOS.

Menorrhagia is characterised by severe bleeding that lasts for seven days or longer. The average blood loss during a regular period is usually 40-40ml. Women suffering from menorrhagia can pass more than 80ml of blood, and also experience clotting during their period.

Many women are raised to believe that heavy periods are just a ‘part of being a woman’. While periods are typically a bit heavier in adolescence, overly heavy periods may be a sign of an underlying issue, and should be investigated.

4. PCOS Painful Periods

Heavy periods usually go hand-in-hand with more uncomfortable symptoms such as cramping (dysmenorrhea). While many women often feel relief after applying a hot water bottle and taking Paracetamol, for others menstrual cramps can be absolutely debilitating.

Painful periods are a very common symptom of both PCOS and endometriosis. If you are experiencing pelvic pain during your period or between periods, it’s important to find the root cause. There are a number of options available to treat the underlying condition and manage your symptoms so you don’t continue to suffer.

Where to seek further advice

Every woman’s body is different. The menstrual symptoms mentioned above are not necessarily a sign of PCOS, but they may also be. The only way to know for sure is to seek advice from a women’s health specialist.

Northside Gynaecology is an all-women practice offering treatment for PCOS in Brisbane, Queensland. Our practice is located at three convenient locations in Kedron, North Lakes and Caboolture.

To book an appointment, call our suites on 07 3054 4687 or click here to request an appointment online.

Treating PCOS and other articles about Ovarian Cysts

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – Diagnosing & Treating

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects up to 1 in 5 Australian women of reproductive age. Although women with PCOS can present with a wide range of symptoms, it’s typically characterised by irregular menstrual cycles, skin and hair changes, and reduced fertility. That being said, polycystic ovarian syndrome […]

2024 Northside Gynaecology GP Symposium

Northside Gynaecology was proud to host our annual GP Symposium at the Garden Marquee Room, at Victoria Park’s Function Centre on Tuesday, 12 March 2024. The program this year included special guest speakers, Dr Phil Lockie and Dr Peta Fairweather, and our Northside Gynaecology team who presented on ‘screening for all gynaecological cancers!’ The event […]
Her Wellness Clinic | Northside Gynaecology | Brisbane

My Story – Our Future

When seeking health care, all women have different experiences and outcomes. While you may feel that your individual experience is only indicative of your personal journey, you’ll likely find that your story links to that of another woman – truly, we’re all in this together. It’s so important that we share our stories (when comfortable) […]
Nicole Saxby | Her Wellness Clinic | Northside Gynaecology | Brisbane

Specialised Exercise Physiology and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy with Nicole Saxby

Our passionate and experienced Specialist Exercise Physiologist and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, Nicole Saxby, provides tailored care for female wellness. With a double degree in clinical exercise physiology and physiotherapy, Nicole has an exceptional and rare combination of expertise, offering comprehensive care that addresses women’s health in an extraordinary way. Learn more about Nicole Saxby and […]

Can you cure PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects up to 1 in 5 Australian women of reproductive age. Women impacted by this condition often ask, following diagnosis: Can you cure PCOS? Unfortunately, the answer at this time is “no”; however, while PCOS cannot be cured, it can be managed. This means that the […]
Jenny Boyce | Her Wellness Clinic | Northside Gynaecology | Brisbane

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy with Jenny Boyce

At Northside Gynecology, our experienced, dedicated pelvic floor physiotherapist, Jenny Boyce, provides high-quality care for women’s health and well-being. For insight into Jenny Boyce’s specialist physiotherapy services, read more below. What led you to pursue a career in pelvic floor physiotherapy? I was captivated by the world of women’s health during my undergraduate and early […]
Northside Gynaecology

Controlling PCOS Symptoms Through Diet

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where women’s hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, are out of balance causing ovarian cysts to grow. These cysts can cause fertility problems; although it is not impossible to get pregnant, just difficult due to irregular ovulation.  Apart from an irregular menstrual cycle there can also be problems with heart […]
Diet Health - Northside Gynaecology

Diet is your best medicine

The prevalence of bad fats, sugar, sodium and chemicals in the majority of modern foods we eat are causing a lot of health issues. Trans fat can lead to heart disease, excessive sugar can cause diabetes and obesity, this we all know but did you know what you eat can contribute toward fatigue, irritability, anxiety […]
Ovarian Cysts - Northside Gynaecology

Do Ovarian Cysts Affect Fertility?

Many women will develop ovarian cysts in their lifetime… but most won’t even know it. Ovarian cysts are a common by-product of ovarian function, and most cysts are harmless. However, some types of cysts can affect your fertility, which can be alarming for women yet to conceive or actively trying to get pregnant. Here’s what […]
Scroll to Top