PCOS & Periods

This is a guest blog written by Nidhi Konnanur, a neuroscience student and aspiring doctor in the USA

Have you been hearing of PCOS but unsure what it’s all about? 

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, is a condition that is characterised by the presence of multiple ovarian cysts and high levels of testosterone. 

It is becoming increasingly common, with 8-13% of reproductive-aged women being diagnosed, while up to 70% of affected women around the world still remain undiagnosed. 

It is a hormonal condition, which means that Polycystic ovary syndrome and periods go hand in hand. Some of the most common symptoms include few periods, long periods, missed or irregular periods, excess hair growth, weight changes, and infertility. 

This blog dives into everything related to the condition—its causes, effects, symptoms and treatments, but especially its relationship to your period health. 

What causes PCOS? 

PCOS is a complex condition that can cause hormonal fluctuations and PCOS periods, but the exact cause of it is unknown. It's likely that multiple genes are involved, and their interactions with each other and with environmental factors contribute to the development of PCOS. 

If you have a family history of PCOS, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition. 

Women with PCOS have elevated levels of testosterone, which is thought to be linked to insulin resistance. 

In PCOS, many individuals exhibit insulin resistance. To compensate, the body produces more insulin, which in turn stimulates the ovaries to produce excess androgens, leading to the development of PCOS symptoms. 

Does obesity cause PCOS? 

Insulin resistance is often associated with obesity, and both conditions often coexist. Obesity is a known risk factor for PCOS. It's not clear whether obesity directly causes PCOS, but it can exacerbate symptoms and increase the risk of developing the condition. 

Factors such as diet, sedentary lifestyle, exposure to certain chemicals, and stress may influence the severity of PCOS symptoms and its onset. 

Who can get PCOS? 

While PCOS can affect people at any age, it often becomes noticeable after the onset of menstruation during adolescence. It causes hormonal imbalance and periods are affected in the process. 

PCOS and period length are also related, and are a struggle for many people affected by this condition.

However, it's important to note that PCOS can also develop later in life, and symptoms may become more apparent as individuals enter their twenties, thirties, or even later. 

While it is more commonly diagnosed during the reproductive years, it can also affect adolescents and postmenopausal women. 

What are the symptoms and impact of PCOS on periods?

PCOS menstrual symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, making it a complex and diverse condition. 

Irregular periods are an extremely common symptom of PCOS. Hormone imbalances and PCOS periods can manifest as fewer periods than usual, prolonged periods, or even missed periods altogether. 

Other PCOS symptoms include unwanted hair growth, development of acne, unexpected weight gain, and more commonly ovarian cysts.

Although not all individuals with PCOS will have visible cysts on their ovaries.These cysts are usually non-cancerous and not harmful but are a characteristic feature of PCOS. 

What are the menstrual effects of polycystic ovary syndrome? 

PCOS-related menstrual changes are common in this condition, and can vary significantly from person to person. Some ways in which they manifest include irregular menstrual cycles, PCOS menstrual flow which is mostly on the heavier side, and also PCOS menstrual pain

One of the primary reasons for irregular periods in PCOS is anovulation, which means the ovaries do not release an egg during the menstrual cycle. 

Some individuals with PCOS may also experience prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding when they do have a period. This is due to the buildup of the uterine lining during extended cycles, leading to a heavier flow when their period finally occurs. 

Spotting or intermittent bleeding between periods can also occur in PCOS. This spotting may be unrelated to ovulation and can be disruptive and bothersome for individuals. 

Read the blog on what happens during your menstrual cycle to learn more about how the body changes during the different phases of your cycle. 

Treating PCOS-related menstrual issues

Managing PCOS-induced menstrual changes can be challenging, but can often be managed effectively with the guidance of healthcare providers. 

Treatment options are tailored to individual symptoms and goals and may include lifestyle modifications, hormonal contraceptives, insulin-sensitising medications, and fertility treatments, as needed.

Treatment for PCOS aims to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications such as diabetes and heart disease. Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are often recommended. 

Medications may also be prescribed to regulate menstrual cycles, lower insulin levels, or promote ovulation in women trying to conceive.

Read more about embracing natural ingredients for your period.

Can you use a menstrual cup with PCOS?

Yes! individuals with PCOS can use menstrual cups when they get their period. However, it's essential to choose a size and type of menstrual cup that suits your individual needs and comfort.

The Asan cup comes in two sizes that are based on your menstrual flow. If you have PCOS, and experience heavy bleeding, you can opt for the heavy flow cup. 

Take a look at our detailed sizing guide for more information. 

If you have concerns or specific questions about using menstrual cups with PCOS, it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider or a gynaecologist for guidance.

Read a gynecologist's opinion on menstrual cups to learn more about what professional healthcare workers have to say about menstrual cups. 


Asan has strict sourcing guidelines and draws information from healthcare institutions and peer-reviewed studies. This blog is written for informative purposes only. We do not offer medical advice or diagnosis. If you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms of vaginal infections, please consult a healthcare professional to seek advice.