Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a leading cause of infertility in women 21 to 40 years old. Occurring in about five to seven percent of women during their reproductive years, PCOS reduces the chance for pregnancy by increasing the level of androgens (male hormones) in a woman’s bloodstream. The ovaries produce small amounts of testosterone women need to maintain muscle and bone health. However, too much testosterone will interfere with menstruation and ovulation by disrupting normal levels of estrogen and progesterone. Normal menstrual periods are essential for releasing viable eggs that can be fertilized through sexual intercourse or an intrauterine insemination (IUI).
Signs of PCOS
One of the first possible signs of the polycystic ovarian syndrome is irregular or absent menstrual cycles. Other symptoms include:
- Abnormal body hair growth, especially on the face
- Acne outbreaks
- Weight gain/difficulty losing weight
- Male-pattern baldness (hair thinning or loss on the top of your head)
- Oily skin
- Chronic dandruff that does not respond to medicated shampoos
- Development of dark skin patches called acanthosis nigricans
If you have two or more of these symptoms and have been trying to get pregnant without success, you may have PCOS. Call our center to schedule a fertility evaluation today.
How is PCOS Diagnosed?
Laboratory and imaging tests can determine if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Elevated blood insulin, high cholesterol, and ovarian cysts are likely to affect women with PCOS. Doctors also suspect PCOS may have a genetic component. This means if you have a sister or mother with PCOS, you may be at risk for having polycystic ovarian syndrome.
What Fertility Treatments are Available for Women with PCOS?
In addition to IUI and in vitro fertilization (IVF), ovulation induction medications like Clomid may be prescribed to stimulate egg production and increase the chance of an egg being fertilized. Injections of gonadotropin hormones may also help treat infertility due to PCOS. Gonadotropins (follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone) stimulate the ovaries to carry out reproductive functions restricted by excessive testosterone and PCOS.
If you have been trying to get pregnant for one year and have PCOS symptoms, call New York Reproductive Wellness today to make a consultation appointment with our fertility doctor.