Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
When assessing your chances of getting pregnant, it is important to take into consideration a variety of possible fertility problems, including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This condition can greatly affect your ability to get pregnant.
PCOS is caused by a hormonal imbalance that results in ovulatory malfunction. Relatively low levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) mean that although egg follicles grow each month, they don't develop sufficiently. This problem is coupled with the fact that luitenizing hormone (LH) levels remain high, meaning that there is no LH surge mid-cycle. As a result, the partially ripened eggs fail to burst free and remain on the ovary, forming small cysts.
Some sufferers of PCOS never ovulate, while others may do so sporadically; intermittent egg release or lack of egg release results in irregular or absent periods as well as diminished fertility.
Another effect of PCOS on fertility is increased levels of the male hormone androgen, which can affect hair growth and cause acne, and has also been linked to obesity.
Symptoms of PCOS are:
- irregular or absent periods
- enlarged ovaries (detected during an internal examination by your doctor or an ultrasound scan
- excessive hair on face, chest, abdomen, arms and legs
- pelvic discomfort
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are two types of PCOS treatment that improve fertility:
- Medication: Clomiphene (Clomid) encourages the production of FSH, thereby potentially correcting the hormonal imbalance. If Clomid doesn’t work, injected drugs like Pergonal, Humegon or Metrodin may be used.
Treatment with any of these normally requires supervision by a fertility specialist in order to ensure the ovaries don't become hyper-stimulated. It is important to note that there is a likelihood of multiple pregnancies (such as twins) with any fertility drug
- Laparoscopic Ovarian Diathermy (LOD):This is a surgical procedure similar to a laparoscopy. It involves burning part of the ovaries with a laser, which usually corrects hormonal imbalances.
Chat with other women suffering from PCOS. Visit our forum today.