Well, I guess I am pretty lucky, having read some of these posts. Since we're sharing life stories...
I have never in my life been regular. My mother was concerned when I was a teen-ager, but my doctor explained that most girls don't become regular until later in life. For about 18 months after I started, I weighed a precise 126 lbs (on a 5'3" frame).
When I was 18, I enlisted in the US Army Nat'l Guard. I almost immediately experience problems with my knees, and I was told to "run it off." The problem, I was told, was exacerbated by the fact that I was roughly 20+ lbs. overweight: lose the weight, and I would be OK. All right, I was in the military, exercising for the first time in my life and I GAINED 30 POUNDS. Within two years, I weighed 155, and my knees were in terrible shape. I had also ceased having periods, and I was told that was due to the amount of exercise.
Well, after I was out of the regular military (I was just turned 21), I finally decided to go see a civilian OB/GYN about it. The OB/GYN run a blood test, and sent me to an endocrinologist. This is where I was lucky: The OB/GYN noticed I had a high level of testosterone, and the endo knew about PCOS. Within 2 months (of non-intrusive testing) I had a diagnosis. I was put on BCPs, and told that I would likely never get pregnant.
My doctor told me to quit smoking for 30 days prior to starting the pill. At this time, my sister told me about the Atkins' diet, and I started it. Would you believe that the diet alone started me ovulating - Regularly? I couldn't believe it. I took the BCPs anyway (my boyfriend and I agreed the protection couldn't hurt), and immediately lost 25 lbs - within 4 months. So I was down to 145, and feeling great.
Then I fell off the wagon (for about a year), and didn't take the BCPs regularly. I became extremely irregular again, so I didn't know until it was almost too late that I was 4 months pregnant. You can imagine my shock: just two years earlier I was told not to expect to ever have kids. What I found out is that the BCPs can help shrink the cysts...So, good news: I can get pregnant (as long as I carefully monitor my diet).
But I have found that BCPs are definitely not my "cure-all." I hate taking pills (a necessary evil) and haven't tried metformin. On Atkins alone, I can easily maintain my weight (I'm down another 15 lbs again: only 40 more to go!), and I have found that my periods are even more regular (if a little on the heavy side).
My endo is now recommending to other patients that they go low-carb, and see how that works for them.
I guess I just consider myself extremely lucky to have such wonderful doctors: they diagnosed me, I didn't have to diagnose myself.