Oligomenorrhea (pronounced: o-li-go-men-or-rea) is just a fancy name for “few” periods. I don’t think there is any other word in the English language that has more synonyms and slang words to describe a woman’s menstrual cycle, than the word, “period”. Aside from familiar words such as “Aunt Flo”, “Uncle Tom” (time of the month), “my friend” “the red tide”, there are many medical terms, that define variations of it.
Oligomenorrhea is one of these words that may look hard to pronounce, but it simply means “few periods”. Girls with PCOS often have periods only every 3 to 6 months; the periods may last 3-5 days or they may be very heavy or very long. A small number of girls with PCOS have periods too often, even every 2 to 3 weeks (called “Polymenorrhea” or “many periods”).
So why do girls with PCOS have irregular periods?
Having PCOS means that your ovaries are not getting the right hormonal signals from your pituitary gland. Without these signals you will not ovulate (make eggs) regularly and your period will likely be irregular. Irregular periods can be caused by other things including STDs, pregnancy, stress, and weight change, as well so it is important to be evaluated by your health care provider. Typical treatment is healthy nutrition and exercise and oral contraceptive pills (aka birth control pills) taken continuously or in cycles to regulate your hormone levels and your periods. Your health care provider may also suggest anti-diabetes medications if you are overweight. So, how often should Aunt Flo or Uncle Tom visit will depend upon your treatment.