Often PCOS and infertility go hand in hand. In fact, PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the main causes of infertility in women today. The excessive insulin production causes them to produce high levels of androgens or male hormones. Women with PCOC are insulin resistant which leads to diabetes.
What is POS?
During a women’s normal menstrual cycle, several follicles develop within the ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg. Only one follicle will produce an egg during ovulation. The hormone LH will surge and this causes ovulation to happen. The egg bursts forth from the follicle and into the fallopian tube.
Because women with PCOS do not normally produce enough female hormones necessary for ovulation, these follicles do not mature to become eggs. Instead some of these follicles will become cysts. If PCOS is suspected an ultrasound may show an image that looks like a string of pearls around the ovaries. These are the cysts that didn’t turn into mature eggs. Since the cysts stops the ovulation process, the hormone progesterone isn’t produced and the lining of the uterus does not thicken.
One of the major symptoms of PCOS is the absence of the menstrual period or a very irregular period. As a woman gets older, PCOS can become worse and either ovulate irregularly or not at all. Five to ten percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS. Unless a woman is trying to conceive she may not know she even has this condition – some 25%. Some women are lucky enough to conceive during an irregular ovulation cycle.
Symptoms of PCOS:
- Excessive hair growth on back, chest and/or fact
- High insulin levels
- Pelvic Pain
- Thinning head hair
- Type 2 diabetes
Symptoms for PCOS vary with each woman. Some women only have an irregular period as a symptom.
Treatments for POS:
Obviously PCOS affects a woman’s ability to conceive because of a lack of ovulation. Luckily there are measures to take to help bring ovulaiton on. Some women can simply treat their PCOS by losing weight. This can help to regulate the reproductive hormones.
Metforim is often prescribed to women with PCOS. It aids the body in being able to absorb insulin. Metforim is a safe medication for women who do not have diabetes. It only affects the insulin and does not lower blood sugar.
Clomid is another fertility drug used in treating women with PCOS. The estrogen receptors in the brain are blocked when Clomid is taken. Because the brain thinks the woman is suffering from low estrogen, it pumps up the body to produce more FSH and LH, which helps to bring on ovulation. Clomid has about a 30-40% success rate with helping conception to occur.
In vitro Maturation (IVM) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) is also options for women with PCOS. Immature eggs are harvested from the ovary to use for IVM. They are then allowed to mature in a laboratory and then fertilized with sperm. In vitro maturation is a procedure where immature eggs are harvested early in a woman’s cycle. The eggs are then matured in a laboratory and afterwards can be used for fertilization. IVF harvests eggs when they are matured in the ovary. The eggs are then fertilized and implanted in the woman’s uterus. Medication are given to women undergoing IVF to help mature the eggs in the ovaries prior to harvesting. IVM is used when women do not respond well to this sort of drug therapy.