PCOS Update - 8 months later with birth control pills
I know that birth control pills are not a good long term solution for PCOS, but at the time I started TTC and was subsequently diagnosed, I was in the middle of a major international move and simply had too much stress in my life to be able to adequately deal with my PCOS. (Was obviously not the ideal time to TTC either, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.)
Due to this and the barrage of undesired side effects I experienced immediately after going off the pill (sudden weight gain, acne, excess hair, greasy scalp, and depression as a result), I decided to go back on the pill until my life was a bit more stable.
My doctor recommended a BC that specifically helps combat high androgen levels. I didn't pay much attention b/c to me, all pills were more or less the same. After six months, I felt ready to go off again. I braced myself for an onslaught of negative reactions and an indefinite time without periods. (And also paid more attention to my diet and amount of exercise.)
Imagine my surprise when, exactly 29 days later, I got my period! I was in total shock. I am hoping that my body is reverting back to the way it was before I ever took my first birth control pill (which for me is slightly greasy hair, and 29-day cycles) - but so far, no weight gain, no major acne, no overly-excessive hair growth.
Obviously it is too soon to tell what exactly is happening - it was only my first cycle. I am planning to start tracking BBT to try to determine if I am actually ovulating, or if I have anovulatory periods. Do you know how common this is and if there is anything that can be done to combat it, if this is the case?
I don't think BC is by any means a cure, however, I would strongly recommend that women be particular about the kinds of birth control they take, if they decide to do so. I also think that the right kind of birth control can help you on a short term basis - to make it through a stressful period and give you time to regroup, do research, and better prepare yourself to manage PCOS for the long term.
Editor's comments: A good fertility resource is Toni Weschler's "Taking Charge of Your Fertility".
As for resuming a fully normal cycle immediately after stopping birth control pills…let's wait and see what happens over the next few months.
There are many factors involved in ovulation. For example, you would want to make sure that if you have insulin resistance, you get it under control (preferably with diet and exercise). There are multiple hormone imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome. Optimal insulin function is a good place to start.
By the way, birth control pills do not solve the PCOS problem, although they are pretty good at suppressing symptoms. They also do not inherently make you more fertile.