Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Periods 

If you have PCOS and have 4 or more periods per year, there is nothing more you need to do. If this changes and you have fewer periods, please make an appointment to see or speak to a GP or nurse. 

In women who have PCOS and fewer than 4 periods per year, and who are not taking any kind of hormonal contraception (see below), there is a risk that the lining of the womb (the endometrium) can become thickened. If left for a long time, there is an increased risk of cancer (endometrial cancer). 

Therefore, women who are having fewer than 4 periods per year should ideally have ‘induced bleeds’, which is just like a period, but brought on by a course of Progesterone. Alternatively, they can take hormonal contraception which thins the lining of the womb and protects from this added risk if not having periods. They should also have an ultrasound every year to check the womb lining. If you have any questions, please make an appointment to speak to a nurse or GP. This is not urgent and can be done via our eConsult system. 

Hormonal contraception examples:

  • the pill – progesterone only or combined oestrogen or progesterone
  • the hormonal coil – eg.Mirena
  • the ring/patch (NuvaRing)
  • the implant (Nexplanon)
  • The depot contraception injection (Depot provera)

Here’s one good source of information about PCOS, look for the section ‘Treating period problems’ which explains the risk of having few periods.

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