Sorry this is so long...
First of all, don’t panic – stress is regulated by hormones and that’s really what you are dealing with here. You have one child already; let that give you hope - you aren’t infertile since it’s very unlikely your PCO is new. This is manageable and really the very best “treatments” are to improve your general health – thru diet and exercise. Medications are available and can help too; they are just not cut and dry “cures”.
My knowledge of PCO is this:
This site has been a good resource for me over the years: http://www.pcosupport.org/
I’ve heard that PCO is synonymous with "Metabolic Syndrome" and "Syndrome X". That's because it's really a hormonal imbalance and it manifests in every person differently. IE: some people have infertility; some have insulin resistance; some have thyroid problems; some women like you have a longer cycle, but others never stop bleeding. If not kept in check PCO can lead to severe obesity; diabetes or heart disease to name a few. It’s not something to take lightly but also not hopeless.
Minor changes in lifestyle can make a huge difference. If you want to get rid of it all, I do believe it’s possible, but also possible to also just manage your symptoms as they come, which is about what I’ve done.
As for “cause” – mostly I have heard that people have a genetic disposition to it, but I have also heard that soy, MSG and other additives are potential culprits as well. It makes sense that what we think of as modern conveniences and environmental toxins take their toll on our human bodies.
I was diagnosed with PCO in 2000 by being tested for Insulin Resistance. I have the extra hair; the skin discoloration; a long cycle (I went up to 3 months without a cycle); weight issues and my Blood Pressure was slightly elevated. I was given Metformin to treat the IR; something for the BP (which helped with the unwanted hair) and birth control.
I was told that the only “Cure” was to loose weight or to have a baby, but that this syndrome causes the weight issues and infertility, and good luck with that. Although I’ve been told since then by other Drs that isn’t the case. I do believe that PCO is not very well understood and every Dr has a different opinion - you have to find what works for you; that includes your choice of Dr.
I couldn’t handle the Metformin after I had my gallbladder removed in 2002 for unrelated issues, so I went off all meds then and just did my best to keep my weight from getting out of control. It wasn’t until 2006 that I tried to have a baby. After being off birth control for 5 months I made an appointment with an OBGYN with a Fellowship in Endocrinology (per the website above) and he told me that there was no hope of conceiving without his help. And then he told me to have two or three blood tests performed on certain days of my next cycle and to come see him again when they were complete. But I didn’t have another cycle for 9 more months (I found out two weeks after my meeting with him that I was already pregnant). That means it only took 6 months to conceive which is well within normal time range for any healthy adult woman. Then we conceived our second child within two months. Needless to say I never went back to that doctor.
I did have issues producing enough milk with my first and was told the issue was typical for people with PCO. (The second isn’t yet born, so I can’t tell you yet how that went.)
However, my MD performed a blood test on me after my daughter was born to gauge my IR – the result was so good that he was willing to write a letter to a potential insurance provider on my behalf to state that I no longer have PCOS.
For me, I feel that lack of regular exercise and bad diet my entire life has been my downfall and I firmly believe that is how to control and solve all issues.
All that said, please do plenty of research on your own, ask your dr lots of questions and try to get them to check you out thoroughly so you know exactly what is out of balance in your body then consider what lifestyle changes you could improve. You’ll be fine – and your whole family will likely be healthier for it all.