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PCOS birth control link?
SJane3384 posted:
Hi, I was just wondering if anyone here had ever heard/read anything about a link between prolonged use of Birth Control (pill/patch/shot/whatever) and PCOS.

When I was a teenager up until I started BC at around 18, my periods were very regular, and at 18 I had no problem getting pregnant. After 6 years on the pill/ring/shot my husband and I decided to start trying for a baby, and eventually after not ovulating for like 6 months I visited my GYN and she diagnosed me with PCOS.

I've talked about it with several friends (who also have PCOS) and most of them had similar stories. Very regular until a few years on BC, and then when they came off a PCOS diagnosis.

I tried researching a link, and the only article I could come up with was this:
Quotin1 responded:
I have never heard of BC causing PCOS. I know that BC is a form of treatment for PCOS if you aren't TTC though. The birth control forces normal ovulation, so most women dont know they have it until they are TTC. Personally, I had very erratic periods my whole life unless I was on BC to regulate them. I'm no doctor, and I could be very wrong, but I dont think there's a connection.
prayingforamiracle2 responded:
I also have a similar story. I had regular periods from the time I was 12 til I went on BC patch at 18. I went off of it a year later and after not having a period for almost a year was diagnosed with pcos.
crissy4024 responded:
I have long believed that the BCP had something to do with my PCOS. From the time I was 15 or so, I weighed about 150 (I'm 5'9, so that's a normal weight for me). I started the BCP when I was 16 and stayed on it until I was 18 when I got married and hubby and I started TTC. Within five months, I had gained 50 lbs and had stopped having my periods. I don't know if the BCP was just masking symptoms that would have been there if I hadn't had the hormones, or if it actually set it off, but there was a definite correlation between coming off the pill and the onset of my PCOS symptoms.
LaceyG responded:
Yea I have a similar story as well. Only 6 months after I started my cycles at age 14 I was put on BCP (the same kind too) until I was 24 when we started TTC. Since then it has been a nightmare and then I was also diagnosed with PCOS. However, I don't know if BCP caused PCOS because the whole reason I was put on BCP in the first place was due to heavy irregular and painful periods. So maybe the BCP was giving me the hormones I was already lacking to begin with, and then once I got off of them, that's when my cycles got irregular again, gained weight, etc. I was also told that BCP is a way to treat it if you're not TTC, which would make sense since it's giving me hormones that I lack for a normal period anyways. But I always had trouble with weight, hair, etc. even while on BCP, and getting off them made everything much worse, so who knows!
rxgirl091308 responded:
I have had PCOS since I was 17 years old and I have never heard of BC causing PCOS. The only medication that I know of that can cause PCOS is Depakote. But if you weren't diagnosed with PCOS before the BC then it could have been masking the symptoms of the disease. But I am not sure, I guess anything is possible. But I know that the only thing that has helped me is the BC so that would be quite shocking.
lifeforce7 responded:
I never took BC and my doctor diagnosed me with pcos. I started having irregular periods recently and feeling really sluggish and depressed. I haven't gained any weight or lost any hair but I do have trouble sleeping. I was really upset when she told me b/c she printed out some info and gave it to me. She offered to prescribe some pills after I told her my symptoms but she never to any test. She never tested my hormones levels but was anxious to prescribe pills. I was really upset b/c she said I could possibly be infertile. But for me there was no link with BC and pcos since I've been on BC in my life.

take care all
Baby11980 responded:
I am an atypical PCOS patient (slender, no acne, no excessive hair growth). I have always had irregular periods! I didn't even get my period until I was 16 and then I didn't get it again for 6 mos. After a couple years of this irregularity, I went on BC. Whenever I went off BC, I was back to my irregular, long cycles. The connection for you could just be a coincidence...
bee2009 responded:
I've looked for studies also regarding this matter!! So far, nothing.

I started birth control at age 15. Stopped at 18, got periods normally for 2 years. Started BC again and was on for nearly 9 years straight. I stopped last May, and my cycle never normalized. I was just diagnosed with PCOS 2 months ago.

I'm convinced ther must be a link and I wish there was someone who was willing to do a retrospective study on women taking birth control and those diagnosed with PCOS!! I wonder if there's a registry somewhere???
bee2009 responded:
Birth Control DOES regulate your cycle, but does NOT cause ovulation. Ovulation is when an egg is actually released from the follicle. When you are on birth control, no egg is released! That's how it "controls" the egg from being fertilized.
Natters1974 responded:
I believe that the BCP were just treating the PCOS and you just didn't know it. It could be that the onset of your PCOS wasn't until later which is the reason why you had regular periods.

For many years, doctors couldn't agress as to whether I had PCO or PCOS. I am slender and at first didn't exhibit anything but the multiple pearl like I have a lot more of the symptoms. Recently, while TTC an RE dx me with PCOS. He is a well respected well known doc and in his eyes ovulating CD12 is too early CD15 or 16 is too late and cycles that are longer than 28 days are irregular and many will argue this but with metformin mine corrected and I started O'ing on CD14 each time and my cycles or exactly 28 days. I think the more you are in the ideal weight and your weight is also regulated and you eat right and excersie the hormones will straighten themsleves out, especially with the met.

So, to answer your question the onset of your PCOS might have been after you started BCP and the BCP might have been treating it. Oh and I was on BCP for several years too but I had regular u/s and I still had the pearl like cysts which is why I know the BCP was treating my PCO/PCOS. Did you have any u/s during the time you were on BCP?
SJane3384 responded:
I did have a couple u/s before stopping b/c. Both were in the last year of the b/c, for ovarian cysts that my gyno swore were not PCOS. I'm not quite sure what to think about that.

I also didn't know that there was a link between Depakote and PCOS. I had been (up until TTC) on Depakote for 15 years for Epilepsy. Holy crap....I'll have to research that one now
taraleia responded:
OMG, this was Exactly what I was looking's like some big cover up for BC. I have the same story as you!! I Completely blatent that the Real Cause is BC, Not insulin resistance or whatever this site will have you believe. And then, after many hospital visits in complete & utter vain, you Finally are told the only thing that can help you is the very thing that ruined you in the first place??? I've never Seriously wanted a class-action suit efore but honestly, I'm going to start searching..
Jessi10909 responded:
This is the first I've heard of BC possibly causing PCOS! I was put on BC when I was 12 for VERY heavy, nearly constant periods for over a year. I stayed on BC pills for 10 years until my DH and I started TTC, after 2 years trying I went to a doctor and was diagnosed with PCOS... I had always thought that the first doc misdiagnosed me, or just didn't care to look into it any further after the BC regulated me and I obvoiusly wasn't trying to get pregnant when I was 12 lol
Most people's stories that I've heard are similar to mine (other than they had less periods than normal, not more like me) PCOS treated by BC, not caused by it... but this is definitely a relevant point of view on the subject
msally replied to Jessi10909's response:
I was put on BC after turning 15 and had normal regularity for 3 years prior. After the BC I had almost orno perios once so ever...thinking this was great I kept up the routine only stopping to get pregnant after I started the 3 month shots of BS for a resulting no period once so ever...however I ballooned in weight one cared.

After a year off the BC, I was prego and got displasia from cervical cancer and lost the babyat 6 months, thankfully gt prego again 3years later and had a few regular periods.

The metaphormin/glucophage makes me SICK
I can't function with it and have tried a GF's idea...crash days...which means almost 500 calorie intake and heavy exercise...which kicks in my period. I'm dismayed by BC because its trrible for my hormone balnce and turns me into a blubbring/crying terrible person.

Does anyone know a dr who cares about slight obesity? My bmi is 40.1 and walk between 6,700-9,300 steps a day without exercise. How do I get help? I attend a university in CA and drive nearly 2.5 hrs a day for work and college.

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