We put down irregular periods to many things.
Being stressed out at work. Having a bad diet. Being sick.
But, it turns out that a pretty common syndrome can be the cause of irregular periods, and you don't even know you have it.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, can cause your time of the month to be erratic, or in some cases, prevent the arrival of your period.
PCOS can't be diagnosed by just one simple test, but there are various signs and symptoms that could help you identify it.
As stated above, absent or irregular periods could be an indicator, as well as weight gain, acne, excessive hair and infertility.
But don't be alarmed if you recognise some of these symptoms, because you're not suffering alone, and there are many ways to treat it.
Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine told Women's Health that between five and 10 percent of menstruating young women display symptoms of PCOS.
Another doc, Mamta Mamik, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told the publication that "one of the conundrums is whether or not you develop PCOS and then gain weight or gain weight and then develop PCOS. Probably, both can happen.”
If you are overweight, Mamta advises you to create a balanced diet and exercise plan for yourself.
“Weight loss really helps to normalise the abnormalities,” she says.
She further explains that if you have any other symptoms, including infertility or diabetes, go straight to your doctor to get checked out.
Your ob-gyn can order blood tests to be carried out which can signal if you have an abnormal level of sex hormones in your body, or high levels of testosterone.
If you think you have PCOS, Mamta assures that “in general, the treatment is quite straightforward."
If you're not trying to get pregnant, the contraceptive pill can be a great option as it controls the levels or hormones you produce, as well as controlling the outcome of your eggs.
However, if you do see a little baba running around in the near future, your gynaecologist can give you medication called Clomid, which starts you ovulating. “Success rates are quite high," Mamta assures.
Everyone is different however, so if you believe you have PCOS, talk to your doctor or gyno, and they can advise the right course of action for you.