Period Cycle and PCOS: Identifying Early Symptoms
3 Min Read
Menstrual cycle in PCOS — menstrual cycles are a normal part of every woman’s life. They are a sequence of events that occur due to female hormones that rise and fall during the cycle. During each cycle, the ovum/egg is released, and if sperm fertilize, it leads to pregnancy. If there is no fertilization, the menstrual cycle begins. If there is a problem with the hormonal levels like PCOS, it can disturb the normal events that occur during a cycle. Tracking the cycle and the flow can help detect PCOS at an early stage which is the most common endocrinological disorder of the present world.
What are the normal events in a menstrual cycle?
A Period cycle usually starts with menstruation. Day 1 of menstruation is the first day of the period cycle. As the period ends in 4-5 days, the pituitary hormones start to rise, stimulating the ovary to produce the ovum. And during the week before ovulation, estrogen levels also start to rise, peaking at the time of ovulation. After ovulation, estrogen levels fall slightly, and the progesterone hormone levels start to rise. The function of these two hormones post ovulation is to prepare the uterus, which includes the thickening of the uterine lining and the body for pregnancy. If the ovum is not fertilized, hormone levels start to dip after a period of around 10-12 days, due to which bleeding happens and the uterine lining for the fetus sheds.
This menstruation cycle happens every month during the reproductive age.
When a girl attains menarche, the bleeding can be unusual because there is no release of the ovum, and the pituitary hormones and ovarian hormones are not still in sync due to the immature pituitary-ovarian axis.
PCOS is due to multifactorial reasons; genetics, high levels of androgens, and insulin resistance have a role in it. The most important symptoms include weight gain, irregular periods, and excessive facial hair. Few patients may not manifest any symptoms, but incidentally, it is found as a part of an Infertility workup.
The menstrual cycle occurs typically once every 21 – 35 days. In PCOS, due to abnormal hormonal levels, ovulation does not occur, so there is an irregularity in periods duration and also the flow.
The following are the early signs that can happen in PCOS and also help in identifying PCOS at an early stage:
(1) Delayed periods or no periods: Periods are delayed, and a woman can end up having no menstrual cycles in 3 – 4 months. Periods can be consistently irregular with a delay of a few days. Though the delay in periods or irregular periods can be due to many factors, one could be PCOS.
(2) Period flow: Due to hormonal imbalance, the bleeding can be altered. Since the uterine lining is built up for a long time, the bleeding that happens after two months or more than that leads to heavy bleeding and can extend up to 2 – 3 weeks. A few patients also complain of less bleeding, which is an early symptom. Period duration can be as less as two days. Bleeding patterns can also change to spotting, which can happen for a few days with one or less than one pad usage.
(3) Bleeding in between cycles: There can be chances of having bleeding in between cycles, but this is less common with PCOS.
(4) Pain during menstruation: There is an increased incidence of menstrual pain which can last up to a few days and can start even before the start of the period cycle, although the exact cause is not known. Also, one can experience more symptoms during the premenstrual syndrome phase.
Tracking periods can help us see changes in the duration, the flow of periods, and symptoms, which points us to diagnose the disease early. When diseases are identified at an initial stage, we can avoid progression and further complications and effectively control them. PCOS can lead to complications like diabetes mellitus and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases later in life. MFine has launched a Free Period and Ovulation Tracker for accurate prediction; it’s simple and private. Start tracking today and start understanding your cycle better.
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