If you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, charting your fertility signs can be somewhat difficult. Women with PCOS often have long or irregular cycles, and their fertility signs may not follow a clear pattern from cycle to cycle. For women with PCOS who have few or no periods, charting may seem pointless—why take the time to chart if there’s no cycle to be charted? But wait! Charting can actually be tremendously useful for women with PCOS—for one, it lets you know what’s going on with your body, and will let you know if something (namely, ovulation) DOES end up happening. If your cycles are irregular but you haven’t figured out why, charting your signs can help your doctor to make a diagnosis—whether the irregular cycles are caused by PCOS or something else.
For women who have PCOS and are trying to get pregnant, charting can cut down on the frustration and disappointment that may be caused by not knowing whether or not you’re ovulating. If you start taking Clomid or Metformin, two drugs commonly prescribed to women with PCOS to induce ovulation and lessen symptoms of PCOS, charting can help you to determine if and/or when the treatment starts working.
So, how is charting affected by PCOS? Firstly, for women with PCOS, cervical fluid is not always a good indicator of if and when ovulation occurs. This is because high levels of the luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone cause the body to produce excessive amounts of estrogen, which in turn cause the body to produce lots of watery and/or eggwhite cervical fluid. This seemingly fertile cervical fluid may be present throughout much of a woman’s cycle. However, if the Temperature Shift does not occur, ovulation has not occurred, regardless of how the CF has changed throughout the cycle. A cycle in which CF builds up from sticky to eggwhite/watery but the BBT shift does not occur is a cycle with a ‘false peak’. Charting your CF will help to pinpoint these false peaks. Generally, cycles lasting two months or longer, or cycles with a ‘false peak’ once or more a year, indicate a possibility of PCOS.
Despite the occurrence of false peaks, women with PCOS should assume that they may be fertile whenever watery CF is present, especially if they are trying to avoid pregnancy. But, just as for women without PCOS, ovulation can only be confirmed after a BBT shift occurs and is sustained for several days. You can also keep track of your cervical position, as there is usually no difference in cervical changes between women with and without PCOS (other than the time it takes for the changes to occur).