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Talk to me about polycystic ovaries....

(24 Posts)
MrsBradleyCooper Thu 22-Sep-11 21:32:08

Have been having bleeding between periods for about 3 years since having my ds.

All up to date with smears which I have every year due to previous abnormal.

I went for a scan a year ago and I was told that my ovaries were polycystic, but it was nothing to worry about and that most women of my age have them.... hmm

Then went back a few months ago and she told me again that they were definitely polycystic.

I had to go back again this week as the endometrial lining had been very thick so they needed to repeat it after my period, and she said the womb was fine, and the ovaries were fine too.

I queried whether or not they were polycystic and she said no that they were completely normal.

Now I know that it is common to develop cysts at certain times in the cycle, but I'm so confused as to whether this is anything worth following up or not?

My periods are all over the place too. I asked her if I needed to speak to my GP and she said no.

Any advice or knowledge greatly appreciated smile

weevilswobble Thu 22-Sep-11 21:42:17

Irregular periods and excessive hair are symptoms of PCOS. Thats all i know. Not an expert, but someone close has PCOS.

MrsBradleyCooper Thu 22-Sep-11 21:58:24

I don't have the excessive hair, but I do find it difficult to lose weight which I know is another symptom.

The sonographer doesn't seem to think I need to see GP though?

januaryjojo Thu 22-Sep-11 22:03:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsBradleyCooper Fri 23-Sep-11 13:30:51

Really januaryjojo?

Have they given you any indication of why it's not PCOS?

I'm so flippin confused!! I've been getting reflexology to help try to get my periods back on track so hopefully it will help.

Sometimes I think your health can be such a mystery!! smile

weevilswobble Fri 23-Sep-11 16:01:10

You dont need a sonographer to tell you whether you should see your GP or not! Make an appointment and talk it through with your Doctor. They are your first point of call when you are concerned.

MrsBradleyCooper Fri 23-Sep-11 22:09:54

Well I have been seeing my GP, it was them that referred me for the scan!

I will obviously be seeing my GP to discuss things, but I was just wondering if anyone else had been through anything similar, as I'd like to be armed with info and questions for when I go back smile.

januaryjojo Fri 23-Sep-11 22:51:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

northernmonkey Fri 23-Sep-11 22:55:06

I have pcos
Can't talk tonight but will come back in the morning and tell you all you want to know

MrsBradleyCooper Sat 24-Sep-11 08:56:20

I suppose what I was really wondering is, if you have PCOS, are the cysts there all the time, or do they come and go? I've heard that a high protein, low carb and low fat diet can help so I might try that too.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 24-Sep-11 09:15:54

Mrs BC,

PCOS is a very individualistic disorder and can and does affect each woman with it very differently. What is a problem for one (say hirsuitism, is not for another) The commonality though is the cystic follicles.

The cystic follicles associated with PCOS can and do disappear - only to be replaced by further follicles. It can take a skilled sonographer to spot them. Also a polycystic ovary often appears larger than normal size, a normal size ovary is about the size of a walnut.

I would speak to the GP again and insist that you are referred to a gynae for further evaluation. Many GPs are frankly ignorant when it comes to PCO and can mess about. Also bleeding between periods is something that should always be checked out further by a gynae.

A low GI/Glycaemic load eating plan is far more sustainable to do in the longer term than low carb. Collette Harris has written some cookbooks with PCOS in mind.

MrsBradleyCooper Sat 24-Sep-11 15:46:28

Thank you so much for your post Attila smile
I have seen the gynae about a year ago and it was him that initially referred me for the first scan.
I will make an appointment with the GP to discuss things though.
I will also google those cookbooks.
It may sound silly but I definitely feel like something is up with my hormones.

northernmonkey Sat 24-Sep-11 16:22:19

Hi MrsBC

I have suffered from cysts on and off for the last 8 years. They first noticed I had one when i was pregnant with dd. <I am very lucky to have 3 dc's>
I have had to have 1 removed and I'm on a waiting list right now for a second complex cyst wich can be serious sad They do cause me sever pain, and like you said, I can feel that something is wrong with my hormones.

I have terible facial hair blush A recent blood test did show that i have too much testosterone. I have been told the best medication for me would be metformin which aparently regulates the hormones. Aparently PCOS also has something to do with insulin levels, which in turn affects hormones <very complicated!!>
I have also bee told that the pill will help regulate things, but I'm not sure just yet that is the way for me.
I personaly haven't tried certain diets so far but I am so overweight, it will be my priority when i have had surgery. <I may be posiibly getting Orlistat to help with that too>
PCOS sadly is a lifetime problem and it can cause some serious medical problems sad
Its all about lifestyle that will finally control it. It is hard but once you get your gp on side, you can get all the information you need, and eventually it can be brought under control.
HTH smile

MrsBradleyCooper Sun 25-Sep-11 22:15:31

Thanks northernmonkey smile
Can't reply now but will do tomorrow.

januaryjojo Mon 26-Sep-11 10:48:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber Mon 26-Sep-11 11:01:55

polycystic ovarian syndrome is not the same as having a cyst (or two) on your ovaries. Ans yes you can have occasional cysts on your ovaries which come and go without having PCOS.

The cysts in PCOS are caused by the egg not releasing from the ovaries (you produce more than one egg a month and only the dominant one is released) but not being absorbed back into the body (as normal) but instead forming a cyst.

many PCOS cysts do not go away (mine never do and my ovaries light up like a belisha beacon when scanned so not difficult to spot) and I haven't heard of anyone with PCOS who didn't have at least some cysts all the time but I bow to th esuperior knowledge of others that its possible.

I had bleeding between periods for a few years and it transpired to be nothing to do with the PCOS but was peculiar fluctuating progesterone. You should be rescanned after a period (it should have been after a period the first time!) to make sure that the lining of your uterus isn't too thick.

Eventually I had a mirena coil fitted because my uterus lining was permanently thickened (hence the breakthrugh bleeding) and I was considered to be at high risk of endometrial cancer.

januaryjojo - there is a link between PCOS and insuling resistance and metformin (a diabetic drug) which regulates insulin levels has been found to be quite effective on some PCOS'ers in regularing periods and can be particularly helpful if you are TTC in conjenction with fertility drugs such as clomid.

My periods went immediately back to normal on Metformin depsite having been every 6-9 months prior to that.

It hasn;t been shown to be very effective on hair growth (IIRC) which is more a function of your ethnic background which determines how many androgen receptors you have in your skin to absorb the free testosterone you have in your blood - eg celtic/chinese = not many androgen receptors = no excess hair, mediterranean/scandinavian = plenty of androgen receptors = excess hair.

ClevelandAnnie Mon 26-Sep-11 11:19:14

Metformin is a diabetes drug. It makes the body's cells more sensitive to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates levels of sugar in the blood. There is some thinking that metformin treatment could result in a decrease in the blood level of insulin, which may have a beneficial effect on PCOS symptoms for some women.

Not sure it would do much for the hair. I'm saving up for laser treatment myself wink

northernmonkey Mon 26-Sep-11 19:07:44

I have just started in metformin today so fingers crossed it will regulate things now.
I don't think it does much for the hair that is already there sad
Can you not get lazer hair removal on the nhs?? I'm sure I've heard of that before. I would really like it done, I look like a bearded lady and I'm only 31!!!!

MrsBradleyCooper Mon 26-Sep-11 20:51:57

Here I am, back again! smile

Well the first time I was "diagnosed" as having a cyst was when I was 14, and pretty healthy. It was 4cm diameter, but the next time they scanned me it had gone.
At the time there was no talk of polycystic or PCOS, they actually said, and I remember this vividly, that it meant I was very fertile, so I was to be careful hmm.

Anyway fast forward to the scans I had last year and this year, and the sonographer said "you've definitely got polycystic ovaries", then the one I had last week, the same sonographer declared that my ovaries looked completely normal with no cysts. confused or what.

I am overweight, but not hugely so, and I am on a mission to get down to the healthiest weight I can. I've also cut out bread, pasta, and trying to cut down on sugar.

I feel pretty lucky that I don't have any of the excess hair problems, and really feel for those of you who do. I definitely think laser is a great long term solution, but I think threading can be quite an effective short term help.

I really don't want to have to go down the route of taking drugs, and I am really hoping that when I see the GP, she will say that I don't have PCOS.

I've been having reflexology, and I am trying to adjust my diet and lifestyle (lots of exercise) to see if that will help.

I just wish I could reverse time and not have put on weight. I had virtually no health problems until my BMI went over 25, then they just seemed to snowball sad.

northernmonkey Mon 26-Sep-11 21:06:29

I was told that one min I had pcos and one min I didn't hmm it wasn't until I had the blood test done that it was finally diagnosed.
I found it was when I put in the weight, everything went downhill ( literally) grin
I have been told that if you can maintain your weight in a good range, you should keep things in control. The only thing I find is, when I have a cyst all my symptoms get very bad at once and I pile on weight then it all spirals out of control

If I was you I would ask for blood tests, as the hormone levels would tell you if you have pcos ( and I really hope you haven't) smile

kickingking Mon 26-Sep-11 21:11:45

I had blood tests and scans after my periods suddenly became very heavy.

I have lots of tiny cysts on my ovaries, but was told they are normal 'functional' cysts, not PCOS as I had normal hormone levels, no excess hair, normal weight, etc.

So I have polycystic ovaries, but not polycystic ovarian syndrome, apparently hmm.

MrsBradleyCooper Mon 26-Sep-11 21:12:28

Thanks northernmonkey

I will relay all this to my GP and see if she will do some hormone blood tests (about the only ones I've not had done)


weevilswobble Mon 26-Sep-11 22:00:30

My knowledge of pcos is via an 18 yr old.

Theres a hair inhibiting cream thats apparently quite new called vaniqua (i think thats the spelling.) can be used on facial hair.
A 'pill' that is not commonly used for normal pill users but can be effective where lots of hair is involved contains an anti testosterone. I can report good results on this.

AuntieMaggie Mon 26-Sep-11 22:43:24

You need to see a gynaecologist/endocrinologist to get a definitive diagnosis and treatment for PCOS.

You can have polycystic ovaries but not polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which is the condition where all the other symptoms are relevant. I have both.

I would advise you not to google too much on your symptoms but to get a referral to the above as there are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms and the only real way to tell is to get diagnosed properly.

Equally you need to get treated properly if you do have this or any other gynaecological condition as GPs generally aren't as aware of the treatment thats needed. I cam off metformin a couple of years ago as I didn't notice the difference when I didn't take it - my GP said this was fine. My gynaecologist/endocrinologist said I shouldn't have stopped and some f my weight gain is probably a result, as I need to take the pill and metformin together to get the right hormonal balance. I don't know if this is the same for everyone.

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