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What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome? PCOS and Fertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (also known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome) is a hormonal disorder that affects millions of women around the world. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects how the ovaries work. While there is no known cause for PCOS, it is said that the high levels of androgen or testosterone (male hormones), genes, insulin resistance and inflammation can all play a role in preventing the ovaries from making eggs regularly. PCOS is a common cause of fertility problems in women.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

The most prominent sign of PCOS is irregular periods or no period at all. However, there are other symptoms of PCOS that include:

  • Thinning hair on head or hair loss

  • Excess hair growth on the body

  • Mood changes

  • Fatigue

  • Weight changes

  • Insulin resistance

  • Low sex drive

  • Ovarian cysts

  • Infertility or trouble conceiving⠀

PCOS Treatments & Fertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a common cause of fertility problems. The reason being many women do not have a period–which means no ovulation. Although, not curable, PCOS is very treatable and there are many ways in which doctors can help women with PCOS manage the condition and even achieve pregnancy.

Lifestyle Changes

A common treatment of PCOS is simple lifestyle changes. In general, living a healthier lifestyle with a better diet, regular exercise, no smoking, less stress, and control of diabetes and other medical conditions can improve hormonal balance and improve fertility odds.

Period Regulation

A common way to help regulate periods in people with PCOS is birth control pillsd.

Doctors typically prescribe birth control pills that contain man-made versions of vestrogen and progestin (female hormones). These pills can help regulate the menstrual cycle by reducing androgen production.

Ovulation Medication

Obviously, pregnancy cannot be achieved while on birth control pills for PCOS, however, if you need help ovulating so that you can become pregnant, certain medicines may help:

  • Clomiphene (Clomid, Serophene) is an anti-estrogen drug that you take at the beginning of your cycle.

  • If clomiphene doesn’t help with ovulation, you may be prescribed the diabetes drug metformin.

  • If clomiphene and metformin don’t work, your doctor may prescribe a medication containing a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and a luteinizing hormone (LH). You get this medicine in a shot.

  • One other drug that helps with ovulation is letrozole (Femara). It’s sometimes used when other medications aren’t effective.

If you suspect you may have PCOS, talk to your doctor. Remember that PCOS is treatable. You are not alone.

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