Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Changes in hormonal pathways in your body

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman's menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, circulatory system, and appearance. Women have both male and female hormones, but women who have PCOS have higher levels of male hormones and experience irregular or absent menstrual cycles and small-fluid-filled cysts on their ovaries. It is estimated that 5% to 10% of women who are of childbearing age have PCOS.

How does PCOS influence my fertility?

When you have PCOS, it changes the hormonal pathways in your body that produce eggs and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. The three most important reasons why becoming pregnant, or staying pregnant may be more challenging for women with PCOS are:

  1. Women with PCOS often do not ovulate.
  2. Women with PCOS tend to have irregular periods rather than "normal" predictable monthly cycles.
  3. When and if an egg is released, the endometrium (lining of the uterus) may not be sufficiently prepared to sustain pregnancy.

What Are The Symptoms Of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

  1. Infrequent, irregular, or absent menstrual cycles
  2. Infertility due to irregular or absent ovulation
  3. Increased hair growth on face, neck, stomach, back, hands, and feet
  4. Acne, oily skin, and dandruff
  5. Pelvic pain
  6. Weight gain/obesity- normally around the waist
  1. High cholesterol
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Thinning hair
  4. Skin tags located on the neck or armpits
  5. Dark or thick skin located on the neck, arms, thighs, and/or breasts
  6. Sleep apnea

What treatments are available for
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

  1. Fertility medications
    The primary fertility problem with PCOS is the lack of ovulation. However, additional fertility testing may be completed to make sure that there are no other problems present. Different medications can be prescribed to help the ovaries release eggs, but women who take such medications need to know that they are at an increased risk for multiple pregnancies. In vitro fertilization (IVF) can also be used to help a woman with PCOS conceive.
  2. Healthy lifestyle and weight
  3. Birth control pills
  4. Diabetes medications
  5. Medication for increased hair growth or too many male hormones
  6. Surgery

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