Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder affecting 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. It leads to irregular periods, high androgen levels, and polycystic ovaries. PCOS impacts fertility, metabolic, mental, and cardiovascular health.
Fertility Centers of New England is here to help guide you through different causes of PCOS, as well as the diagnosis and treatment options that can help you grow your family.
Causes of PCOS
PCOS is a complex health condition; the exact cause is not completely understood. However, several factors are believed to significantly affect its development.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the body’s sugar levels. In cases of insulin resistance, the body cannot use insulin effectively, leading to an overproduction of this hormone. This, in turn, may increase the production of androgens, or male hormones, leading to PCOS symptoms.
Genetics also plays a role in the development of PCOS. Recent research suggests that genetic or chemical changes in the womb might cause PCOS. It’s also been observed that the condition often runs in families.
Environmental factors, most importantly obesity, can also contribute to PCOS. Excess weight can exacerbate insulin resistance and increase the risk of PCOS.
PCOS presents with various symptoms, varying greatly from person to person. Some individuals may experience only mild symptoms, while others may have a more severe manifestation. The most common symptoms include irregular periods, excess androgen, and polycystic ovaries.
Normal menstrual cycles occur every 28 days, but someone with PCOS may have fewer than nine periods a year, have a period every few months, or have very heavy bleeding during their period.
Androgens are hormones that control the development of characteristics typically associated with men. In PCOS, inflated androgen levels in the body can interfere with egg development and release. Some women might also experience symptoms like excessive facial and body hair growth, acne, and thinning scalp hair.
In those with PCOS, the ovaries may be up to three times larger than average and have a “string of pearls” or “pearl necklace” appearance with many small cysts along the outer edge. The ovaries can also fail to release eggs, contributing to infertility regularly.
Do I Have PCOS Quiz
Please remember that this quiz is not a diagnostic tool. It’s designed to help you better understand the potential risk factors associated with PCOS. Always consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Impact of PCOS on Fertility
PCOS can significantly impact a woman’s fertility. In a regular cycle, an ovary releases an egg into the uterus for fertilization. However, with PCOS, the egg may not develop as it should or be released during ovulation as it usually would be. This leads to irregular or missed menstrual periods, making it harder for women with PCOS to conceive.
Additionally, PCOS often causes insulin resistance, leading to weight gain, further complicating fertility. Women with PCOS also have a higher risk of miscarriage.
Getting Pregnant with PCOS
However, it’s important to note that having PCOS doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get pregnant. Various treatments can help manage the symptoms and improve fertility. These may include lifestyle changes, medications to stimulate ovulation, and, in some cases, assisted reproductive technologies. It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider to understand the best course of action for your specific situation.
Fertility Centers of New England Can Help
Starting a family while dealing with PCOS might seem overwhelming, but it’s crucial to remember that you’re not alone in this journey. At Fertility Centers of New England, we are committed to providing you with comprehensive support—from diagnosis to treatment and having a child.
Contact us today for a fertility consultation!