The short story: I never get my period. This may be a symptom of PCOS. I've been told to treat this symptom by taking HBC. Is this accurate/necessary?
I have never had regular periods. I got my first period when I was 12 and half, which is quite normal. I think my second period was a bit late, but after that, even when I got older, it never regulated.
When I was around 17 (?) I went several months (maybe 3?) without getting it at all. I was a bit uneasy about HBC (as was my mother who is still staunchly against it due to her bad experiences on the pill back in the 70s), but I was raised in a very hippie-centric town and my doctor was always eager to prescribe natural remedies, so she told me to pick up some Progesterone cream. I don't remember the exact brand, but I think it also had evening primrose oil in it? It may have taken a week or so, but I did finally get my period after starting that treatment.
I kept it up (as per the instructions on the tube), and I know at one point I was taking some sort of supplement as well, but after that first time it stopped working reliably and my periods were still irregular (although at least present).
When I went away to college and became sexually active, I started taking the pill (OTC-Lo) and was totally amazed at having a regular period! What a novelty!
About a year and half later, I started suffering panic attacks and major anxiety, and my doctor suggested I start using the NuvaRing, which was supposed to help stabilize moods by delivering a steady dose of hormones (so no spikes or drops) and with lower doses of estrogen. That worked fine too.
THEN I went away to England for a semester. I was hating taking so many medications, and since I'd be in a different country than my boyfriend for the next six months, I decided to take a break from HBC. That was when I got worried, because I didn't get my period once for the entire six months.
When I came home, my doctor said I should go back on HBC to induce my period. For cost reasons, I started taking a generic brand (Solia), that was monophasic (again to stabilize mood). My period started again and there were no complications. I got some blood work done, and my doctor said the ratio of LH and FSH hormones was way out of whack, indicating that I probably had PCOS. However, she also said that wasn't a diagnosis, just a probable cause to be checked out by an endocrinologist. She didn't seem too concerned about it. Around this time I also had a pelvic ultrasound (looking for causes of pain, not looking for PCOS, though) and was told there was nothing at all irregular, so I assume I don't have any ovarian cysts.
After graduating (and no longer having access to healthcare, since I am uninsured), I was unable to renew my prescription. Again, I wanted to see if my period would regulate itself ever again on its own, since I don't want to be on HBC "just because". So this time I went about another three months with no bleeding at all.
Eventually, I broke down and went to my local Planned Parenthood. I brought up the "potential" PCOS issue, and was basically told the same thing. That the hormone levels were a good indicator that that was the issue, that I should stay on HBC to regulate my periods because I would be at a higher risk for endometrial cancer if the uterine lining built up. So I went back on NuvaRing. No complications, period started normally right away.
But this time round I find the NuvaRing very uncomfortable, so after two months I stopped using it. If I do indeed have PCOS, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of merely treating one symptom with HBC. I also am not sure if HBC is even a necessary treatment for amenorrhea - I am still unclear on what the actual risks are. I have had little luck researching this, and I cannot afford to see an endocrinologist.
What was once irregular is now entirely absent without HBC. Is that strange?
Does this (plus a weird LH/FSH hormone ratio, but also a totally normal ultrasound) indicate PCOS?
Is HBC an effective or normal treatment for PCOS? (That is to say, is amenorrhea really dangerous?)