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Women's Health

Unusually Long Cycle With Clots

12/04/2009

Question:

I am 37, I have been dx with PCOS for the last 10 years, my cycles are few and far between. They are typical for me though until this last set. Most of the summer my cycles were normal (for me) then in Sept. it was unusually light, I had only light spotting in Oct. a day here or there,but no days consistantly. I started my current cycle on Nov. 20, it is Dec. 1st and it appears to be no end in sight. Plus I have passed at least 5-6 large clots, that I could actually feel "moving down"...could this be part of my PCOS? In June I did start walking/jogging and have begun to take off some weight aboout 15 pounds.( I am 208 at 5`2) thank you

Answer:

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is one reason why a woman might have infrequent periods.  Whether it is this actual condition, or simply a tendency for infrequent ovulation due to genetics or excessive body weight, the result is often the same.  Without the ovulation that triggers bleeding, the lining of the uterus can build up over time.  Consequently, there may be very little or light bleeding intermittently, and then suddenly an episode of very heavy or prolonged bleeding as that built-up tissue starts to bleed.  If the tissue continues to build up over long periods of time, it also raises the risk of uterine cancer.

While weight loss and exercise are often helpful to restore regular ovulation, many women require medication to prevent this kind of abnormal bleeding.  Depending on what other medical conditions a woman has, her doctor might prescribe a birth control pill, a progesterone pill, or an intra-uterine device to prevent the build-up of uterine tissue.

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Response by:

Jonathan  A Schaffir, MD Jonathan A Schaffir, MD
Clnical Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University