The symptoms of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) are different for different patients. Some women may not even realise that they are suffering from PCOS until they attempt to conceive, whereas some might have very clear symptoms like painful and/or irregular periods.
However, some of the characteristics of PCOS are irregular or missed periods, heavy flow, and painful periods. One of the most common indications of PCOS is having irregular periods. 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 the normal range. An irregular period can be defined as having eight or fewer cycles each year or having cycles that last longer than 35 days. However, irregular periods can be attributed to other factors as well.
Women suffering from PCOS may experience amenorrhea or an absence of periods for three or more consecutive cycles. It is one of the major causes of infertility in women with PCOS. Sometimes women with PCOS experience menorrhagia or heavier bleeding during their menstrual cycle. It is 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.
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 some basic pain relief medicines, for others, menstrual cramps can be extreme. Painful periods are a very common symptom of both PCOS and endometriosis. If you are experiencing severe pelvic pain during your period or between two-period cycles, you should consult a doctor to find the root cause.
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