PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and is more common than you might think in childbearing women. It is actually a significant problem in infertility cases, affecting 1 in 15 women, and as high as 10% of females in some studies. PCOS and infertility have been a major focus for some time now in the medical arena, to better determine how best to address symptoms and develop treatments.
To achieve reproduction, the hormonal balance must be correct in the woman’s body and produce equally for ovulation. PCOS results from the imbalance of hormones that in turn affect other hormones in an ongoing cycle. A number of consequences result from this occurrence. For example, cysts form on the surface of now enlarged ovaries. This can create further hormonal production issues, but otherwise may not be harmful. It should be noted that PCOS is commonly handed down from either side of the family.
In addition, the body exclusively produces high levels of the male hormone, androgen, and this process can also lead to insulin resistance. Neither of these is positive. A female with androgen excess can develop excess hair growth on face and body, as well as acne. In normal menstruation, the egg holding follicles develop within the ovaries and at the proper time, release eggs, causing ovulation. Excess androgen can restrict this process.
Unfortunately, diabetes can result when blood sugar increases, due to the body not using the insulin well. So, as is evident here, PCOS causes the hormone imbalance, resulting in excess androgen, which can result extremely in diabetes, as well as infertility. Not a good thing, and as you can see a complicated process.
So how do you know if PCOS is causing your infertility? First, realize that many women may be experiencing PCOS and not even know. The symptoms can vary in each case and usually develop slowly over time. It may start at puberty after menstrual cycles begin. First signs may be the excess hair, but also unusual gain, high blood pressure, pelvic pain, poor sleep and even depression are common. Secondly, if you have been diagnosed with PCOS, it is almost a given that is the cause of your infertility and treatments will be designed accordingly.
Typically, with PCOS, the key concern is infertility, however, all of the symptoms are generally treated according to appropriate procedures, addressing acne, hair growth, insulin levels and obesity. Although the exact cause of PCOS and the hormone problem is unknown, diagnosis is straightforward and treatment of the symptoms is usually successful.
Since there is no known cure for PCOS, the treatments have to be focused on the symptoms, which typically adjust the hormones and alleviates most concerns. The hormone issue is addressed through drugs such as Metformin, which improves insulin absorption and helps adjust menstrual cycle and even restore fertility. Of course, focusing on normal health concerns such as smoking, eating healthy, exercise and weight loss will help. In fact, sometimes weight control alone can improve hormonal balance and alleviate infertility.
To assist the process, fertility treatments are usually required and may include IVF, IVM, surgery, and drugs. Maybe you will only require drugs such as Clomid, which are commonly administrated to enhance levels of estrogen and promote ovulation. Between 30-40% of PCOS women will conceive from such drug therapy. If not, in vitro fertilization (IVF) will probably be tried next, in which the mature eggs are harvested, fertilized and placed in the uterus. Another common procedure is IVM, or in vitro maturation, where the harvested eggs are matured in the lab, then fertilized and implanted in the uterus. Surgery to remove the actual cysts on the ovaries may be used if these other treatments are unresponsive.
So yes, there is no question PCOS may be the key cause of your infertility. The important thing is to know it is easily diagnosed and highly treatable, as has been proven by literally thousands of couples. You too can join their ranks.