Why don’t I get a regular period?

Many women who skip months without a period have a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.

PCOS is a condition that includes:

  • high testosterone and DHEA-s levels causing acne, unwanted hair growth, and male patterned baldness
  • ovarian dysfunction with often results in lack of ovulation, hence the long periods of time between periods and often the associated infertility
  • weight gain occurs in many women due to the insulin insensitivity that is often part of PCOS

If you suspect that you may have PCOS, you need to have some blood work done to rule out other reasons for symptoms.  If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, remember that it’s a life-long condition.  You want to make sure that you are being taken care of with respect to the long term risks:

  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • endometrial cancer
  • mood disorders

Naturopathic Medicine can not only help you manage PCOS symptoms like acne and infertility, but it can also help reduce your long-term health risks.

Book your assessment today or have your questions asked during our free 15 minute meet-the-doctor.

How do you test for PCOS?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex condition and diagnosis involves a few tests.

Firstly, we want to know how many androgens you have floating through your blood.  These are hormones that are typically higher in men like testosterone and DHEA-s.  These hormones are responsible for the symptoms of:

  • acne
  • hirsutism (coarse hair on your face, abdomen or chest/back)
  • male patterned balding

These hormones are elevated in 50-90% of women with PCOS with or without the symptoms above.

Ask for free testosterone to be checked, not total testosterone.  This is because high insulin is often found in women with PCOS.  When insulin is high, it stops another hormone from working properly, sex-hormone binding globulin.  This hormone usually binds extra testosterone so that it doesn’t cause symptoms.  Total testosterone levels measure both the bound and unbound hormone.  This can result in a normal reading even though you may have too much free testosterone causing symptoms.

Secondly, we want to know if you ovulate and how often.  This can be done by tracking your periods using a basal body chart or having your cycle monitored at a clinic.

Thirdly, we want to know what your ovaries look like.  This can be done via ultrasound.  Polycystic ovaries are not found in all women with PCOS.

If you are not sure if you have PCOS and would like to be assessed, you can book an appointment with one of our doctors online.