Hey guys, welcome to my blog, Many of you have asked me to do a post about Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, so here it is, as usual, I will be showing Ultrasound pictures as well.
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What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common cause of anovulation and female infertility
Women with polycystic ovaries and fertility problems:
Do not release an egg (ovulate) regularly.
Have ovaries that contain many small cystic structures, about 2-9 mm in diameter.
Affecting an estimated 5 million in USA only, PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in females. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but doctors and scientists believe that elevated levels of Androgen and insulin may be related to the condition. PCOS affects females of all ages.
How does normal ovulation work?
In a normal menstrual cycle with ovulation, a mature follicle, which is also a cystic structure develops. The size of a mature follicle that is ready to ovulate is about 1.8 to 2.8 cm in diameter.
About 14 days after ovulation the woman would be expected to get a period if she is not pregnant
The basic difference between polycystic and normal ovaries is that although the polycystic ovaries contain many small follicles with eggs in them, the follicles do not develop and mature properly – so there is no ovulation.
Since women with polycystic ovaries do not ovulate regularly, they do not get regular menstrual periods.
Symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome:
Excess hair growth (hirsutism) on body and face.
Irregular, heavy or absent menstrual cycles.
Weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Acne and oily skin.
Women with polycystic ovaries often have an excess amount of the male hormones testosterone and androstenedione, resulting in high testosterone levels in the blood.
Can I conceive with PCOS?
PCOS cause infertility but there is HOPE !!!
The good news is that the chance of getting pregnant with polycystic ovarian syndrome using fertility treatments is very good. The great majority of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome will be able to have a baby with fertility treatment.
For young women under age 35 with polycystic ovaries, the real question is more about which treatment will be effective – and not so much whether any treatment can ever work.
As far as the chances for pregnancy with PCOS – pregnancy statistics are difficult to give without knowing the details of the individual case.
Treatments for polycystic ovaries and infertility
Women with polycystic ovary syndrome usually need induction of ovulation to get pregnant.
One of the best ways to deal with PCOS is to eat well and exercise regularly.
Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Losing just 5% to 10% of your body weight may ease some symptoms and help make your periods more regular. It may also help manage problems with blood sugar levels and ovulation.
Since PCOS could lead to high blood sugar, your doctor may want you to limit starchy or sugary foods. Instead, eat foods and meals that have plenty of fiber, which raise your blood sugar level slowly.
To regulate your menstrual cycle, your doctor might recommend:
Combination birth control pills: Regulating your hormones can help with the symptoms and also helps with abnormal bleeding, excess hair growth and acne. If you don’t want to use pills you might use a skin patch or vaginal ring that contains a combination of estrogen and progestin.
To help you ovulate, your doctor might recommend:
Clomiphene (Clomid). This oral anti-estrogen medication is taken during the first part of your menstrual cycle.
Letrozole (Femara). This breast cancer treatment can work to stimulate the ovaries.
Metformin (Glucophage, Fortamet, others). This oral medication for type 2 diabetes improves insulin resistance and lowers insulin levels. If you don’t become pregnant using clomiphene, your doctor might recommend adding metformin. If you have prediabetes, metformin can also slow the progression to type 2 diabetes and help with weight loss.
Gonadotropins. These hormone medications are given by injection.
As you can see is not easy but is possible to get pregnant having PCOS, is just a matter of striving to have a healthy lifestyle and with the help of our doctor you can achieve it.
Diagnosis of PCOS is easily done with Labs to confirm high levels of testosterone and Ultrasound.