Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that can occur in women. According to statistics, PCOS affects between five and ten percent of women of childbearing age. PCOS is believed to be hereditary, and it is often talked about in relation to pregnancy, as it is a leading cause of female infertility.
However, with the proper medication, a woman who has polycystic ovaries will usually be able to have a baby.
The term polycystic is actually not entirely accurate. It means “ovaries with multiple cysts”, but that’s not entirely correct because ovaries don’t have cysts. Instead, they have follicles.
The term “disease” usually has negative connotations, but it can also have certain benefits. For example, people with higher levels of male hormones will find it easier to build muscle. This can be beneficial for athletes. And historically speaking, before we had the excess of food we have today, this gene that has a tendency to conserve energy levels was probably most beneficial.
PCOS and Pregnancy
PCOS is a problem that can make it hard for a woman to get pregnant. It happens when the ovaries don’t make enough of the hormone called progesterone. PCOS can also cause the eggs to not mature properly. Women with the most severe form of PCOS, also known as the Stein-Leventhal syndrome, typically need some form of treatment in order to become pregnant.
Polycystic ovaries differ in that they contain many small antral follicles containing eggs; however, these will not develop properly. The end result is that the woman has no ovulation and the lack of a period is not a sign of pregnancy.
The symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can differ from woman to woman. However, some of the more common symptoms include:
– Irregular period – sometimes heavy and long menstrual flows. For some women the period stops altogether.
– Infertility due to no ovulation and obesity.
– Stronger tendency for acne, for a grownup.
– Excess facial and body hair
– In the long run a greater risk for coronary heart disease
– Obesity, particularly excess belly fat
Women with pcos have a difficult time releasing mature eggs. As a result, the rate of infertility is high. However, the appropriate medical treatment can improve the odds significantly.
Clomid is the most common medication used to induce ovulation. Clomid works by stimulating the pituitary gland to produce more follicle stimulating hormones (FSH). This increase in FSH often leads to successful ovulation. The treatment is usually supervised through blood tests as well as ultrasound, in order to verify that ovulation has occurred and to check the number of mature ovarian follicles.
If the oral medication doesn’t quite do the trick, the next step might be FSH-injections. This treatment requires more careful supervision to avoid overstimulation.
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is an expensive yet successful method of treatment for women with PCOS. Compared to FSH methods, IVF has a higher chance of success when it comes to pregnancy.
It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before making any decisions related to pcos and pregnancy. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action for your specific situation.