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PCOS and Infertility

on Aug 08, 2012

by Prabha Sahgal, MD

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PCOS and Infertility

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affects many womens' fertility. Find out what it is, the causes & what you can do to overcome it so you can get pregnant.

If you suspect that you are suffering from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) because you are experiencing symptoms like infertility, irregular and infrequent menstrual cycles and acne, you need to truly understand what this condition means and how you can deal with it, so that it does not affect your fertility. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

What is PCOS?

Many women who hear about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) think about huge cysts on the ovaries. The truth is that PCOS is characterized by multiple, small cysts that appear like black dots on an ultrasound screening. Women who suffer from this condition are not able to produce enough hormones to determine the follicles that contain their eggs to mature. Normally, a woman produces several follicles during the first half of her menstrual cycle, each follicle containing an egg. Only one follicle will remain and produce an egg during ovulation, and when the egg will mature the woman’s LH (luteinizing hormone) levels will surge and cause the matured egg to burst from its follicle.

How PCOS affects progesterone levels

However, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects the woman’s capacity to produce the necessary hormones that trigger ovulation. So, her follicles do not mature, but instead collect fluid and grow, sometimes developing into cysts. Since you are incapable of ovulating, your body will not produce progesterone. Progesterone is the hormone that causes the lining of your uterus to thicken. Without progesterone, your cycles become irregular or even absent. Other symptoms of PCOS are pelvic pain, thinning hair, obesity and increased hair growth on your face, back and chest.

How PCOS affects ovulation

PCOS causes your body to produce excessive insulin, and, as a response to this, produces high levels of male hormones. It is this excess of male hormones that affects your production of female hormones and makes you incapable of ovulating. If you do ovulate, it is very hard to figure out when this happens, so it is very hard to plan a pregnancy. Ovulation prediction kits may not work for you because they will not be able to correctly detect LH surges if your LH levels are elevated, which happens sometimes in women with PCOS.

Treatments for PCOS

Some infertility treatments that may work for you are: in vitro fertilization; Metformin (which helps your body use insulin better so you will not need it in a big amount in order to control blood sugar levels); fertility drugs that block estrogen receptors in your brain, causing your body to think it must produce more FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH, which will help you ovulate; or ovarian drilling- which will actually destroy a small portion of your ovary in order to lower androgen levels and help you ovulate normally. Weight loss may also help by balancing your hormone levels. Your doctor can help you figure out what the best treatment for you is, whether you are trying to get pregnant now or later.

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PCOS and Infertility, 4.4 out of 5 based on 22 ratings

Related posts:

  1. Getting Pregnant with PCOS: 6 Lessons
  2. High FSH Levels and Infertility
  3. Cause of Infertility
  4. Stress and Infertility: How Stress Affects Your Fertility

Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.

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  • Jesseankney

    I have been trying to get pregnant for 4yrs now,i did the hsg test,the prolactin.i have taken clostilbegyt,clomid&folic acid&i still cant get pregnant.i want to have a baby so badly.

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  • Dr. Renee Hanton, MD

    There are different reasons for not conceiving a baby. It could range from azoospermia (no sperm) to irregular periods; from abnormal hormone levels to possible uterine disorders. I highly recommend seeing your fertility specialist to determine exact cause and be provided with available fertility treatments.

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  • Alexachaudron26564

    Im 21 years old, and I have policyisic overies so my periods are not very regular they come with they what, and I have fallen pregnant before at 18 have a beautiful baby boy at 31weeks and sadly lost him at 6weeks old of his life so, so me and my partner want to try again and have been for 1year now also spend lots of money on test and I’m sick of the disappointment on negative, can u help me please.

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  • Dr. Christine Lee, MD

    Having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can make getting pregnant quite a challenge. Receiving the right treatment can help you overcome this difficulty. There are several natural and medical treatments available for treating PCOS. Fertility drugs such as Clomid and injectable hormones that help regulate cycles and stimulate ovulation, are examples. A natural way to regulate cycles is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, by exercising and having a balanced diet. There are also herbs and all-natural fertility supplements available that can address fertility issues brought about by PCOS, like Vitex or Chasteberry, and Fertibella, that are effective in balancing reproductive hormone levels and regularizing cycles. Consulting your doctor can help you figure out what treatment option would be best for you. PCOS may be a difficult obstacle to overcome when trying to get pregnant, but it is far from impossible not to. It is a matter of knowing all your options and determining which treatment option would best fit your needs.

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  • Olile

    Hi,i will be 30 in a few weeks,i have pcos,and sometimes last year i had a surgery to have a cyst removed,and amazingly my period has bin regular.But in th course of dating my fiancee we have tried to get pregnant,but i dont get pregnant.And now am so so so so so ready to have a baby.My doctor says when am ready i should come!!!!!!Am scared cause i dont Know what i would learn.

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  • Nikko

    Hi. I am 29 years old and have PCOS.
    I had my cysts removed 3 years ago.
    I just got married a year ago and I have been trying to have a baby.
    I have been on metformin for a month now, and I also take clomid on the 2nd day menses.
    I am supposed to be ovulating now but I am bleeding during and after intercourse.
    It is not as heavy as my normal menses but it is enough to wet a tiny panty liner in a day’s time.
    Is this normal? What does the bleeding indicate? It has lasted for 4 days

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  • Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD

    Since each couple’s chances of conception may vary from one to another, I do recommend that you have a preconception check-up in order for you to determine your chances of conception and what particular cause prevents you from getting pregnant. In this way, your doctor can also run you and your partner run you tests which can as well determine if any of you have underlying infertility issues.

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  • Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD

    Knowing that you have PCOS, your irregular uterine bleedings are considered to be normal and are usually due to your lack of ovulation in such a way that the fragile lining of the uterus becomes thickened from excess estrogen and is not corrected by the monthly production of progesterone from the ovary that normally follows ovulation. With this, I do suggest that you consult your doctor if which particular medical treatment option is best for you to take to help alleviate your uterine bleeding.

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  • ladylove

    I get My period every month on time can I take clomid to help me obvulate ny husband has kids already so I,dont think he is the problem ive never been pregnate im 33 and trying any inhave any info that has worked for them im more than happy to try somthing new thanks

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  • Nikko

    Hi, I have started taking TTC and I am now just finishing my month 3 bottle. However, my period is still irregular… I havent had my period since last Oct, hence it has been almost 3 months. Why is that so? I am also taking metformin. What can I do to regulate my period and ovulate?

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  • liezlt

    Hi there, 33 yrs & suffer from Pcos, trying to concieve for 4 yrs now, had the oval drilling with regular period now every month. Have been on clomid/ femara and now gonal f injection with no success rate. My follicals are only maturing to 11 cm and thus i cant even go for iv?? Been refferd to spesialist now but can only get appointment in 4 monts, but is there any hope?? Anyone else with the same problem? As far as im aware eggs need to be 18cm for invetro?? Im dont know what to do anymore…. Such an emotional rollercoaster!! Would appreciate Your feedback x

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  • G.rama

    Hi i am Rama: i want to conceive my marital life is 4 years i have anovulatory cycles what will i do now

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