PCOS and ovulation
PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder, a common symptom is irregular or no menstrual periods and difficulty getting pregnant.
Ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) typically happens once a month. Individuals with PCOS may ovulate less frequently, which can make it more difficult to get pregnant.
The menstrual cycle begins when hormones are released from an area in the brain, ultimately causing an egg follicle in the ovary to begin growing. Two main hormones are involved in this process. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) stimulates the maturation of an egg. The second luteinizing hormone (LH) triggers ovulation or the release of the egg.
An imbalance of these hormones in PCOS stimulates androgen (male hormones) secretion. High levels of androgens stop ovulation, as a result, an individual’s menstrual cycle and ovulation can be affected. The exact reason why these hormonal changes occur is not known.
As a result, individuals suffering from PCOS may find they have irregular or longer than normal cycles, or none at all, where ovulation may or not occur in a given cycle. This irregularity can make it difficult to know when ovulation is occurring, if at all.
Next steps for PCOS and irregular periods
If you are concerned you have PCOS and are suffering from irregular or no periods, consult with a healthcare professional to receive a diagnosis. Once you have been diagnosed there are a number of treatments, including lifestyle adjustments that can help with the signs and symptoms of PCOS.
Infertility and anovulation is often treated by ovulation induction with clomifene under the guidance of a fertility specialist. However, all individuals are different and will require individualised treatments best supported by a healthcare professional.