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Infertility Cubby

When Does PCOS Start?
By Sam Thatcher, MD, Ph.D.

Sam Thatcher, MD, Ph.D.Q. I am 21 years old. I have had irregular periods all my life. Then I got on the BCP in December of 99. I got off of it in April because of weight gain. Since then my periods have stayed regular, except for this month where I just have a lot of spotting. My mother says I may have PCOS because since getting off the pill, I haven't gotten pregnant yet. My mother had one child at 19 and then had trouble having any more. She got on Pergonal and was able to conceive after that with no trouble. My sister had a cyst on her ovaries removed. Does any of this indicate to you that I may have PCOS?

A. We believe that PCOS is inherited. This means you may have had the gene for PCOS since before birth. It sounds like your mom could have easily had PCOS and it sounds like you may too. The chance of passing from mom to daughter is probably about 50%. PCOS can also be inherited through the dad's side, but there is probably no clue that it is there other than an increased risk of diabetes in some. The genetics of PCOS is an important area of present research. If you are concerned, you may want to see a physician who specializes in PCOS.

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