What is PCOS?PCOS is a hormonal disorder that interferes with female reproductive function. Specifically, a hormone imbalance causes many small cysts to grow on the ovaries. The body also produces more male sex hormones (androgens) in a woman with PCOS. This imbalance can cause irregular periods, physical changes, and infertility. It can also increase the chance of long-term health issues like diabetes.
How does PCOS impact infertility?When the female reproductive system has high levels of androgens, it may not develop eggs properly. This can also interfere with ovulation. In many cases, the ovaries do not release an egg at all as it normally would during ovulation. This makes it more difficult to get pregnant, since there is often not an egg to fertilize.
What fertility treatments are used to help people with PCOS?While living with PCOS can be frustrating and painful, a diagnosis may come with some relief. This is especially true if you are trying to get pregnant. There are several common methods that doctors use to stimulate ovulation and increase your chances of conceiving.
- Birth Control: Some fertility doctors may prescribe some form of birth control to regulate and control your periods. This is a first step, since you won't get pregnant on birth control.
- FSH: A shot containing both a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and a luteinizing hormone (LH) may be an option for some patients.
- Clomiphene: This is an anti-estrogen drug that controls your hormones during your cycle.
- Metformin: Typically used for diabetes, this drug is also used to stimulate ovulation in women with PCOS.
- Letrozole: This medication slows estrogen production and encourages FSH production.
About one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third to the male, and one-third to a combination or unknown causes. And when it's tied to the female partner, PCOS may be the cause. If you are living with PCOS and are seeking options to conceive, be sure to visit our Michigan comprehensive fertility center. This center for reproductive medicine will help you pinpoint the right path of treatment for you.