Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disorder that affects the endocrine system. Roughly 5 million women of childbearing age in the U.S. have this disorder. In honor of September being PCOS Awareness Month, here is some important information on this disorder.
What Causes It?
The underlying cause of this disorder is not fully understood, but there are a number of factors that are believed to increase the risk of having it. These include having an excess amount of insulin, having mothers or sisters who have it and having low-grade inflammation. When you have this disorder, your ovaries produce higher amounts of androgen hormones than normal. This leads to symptoms, such as acne, hair growth on your face, stomach and other areas, ovulation problems and weight gain.
How Does It Affect Fertility?
This disorder can cause the ovaries to produce low amounts of hormones that are needed for eggs to mature. When this happens, ovulation might not occur and your menstrual cycle can become irregular. If you have PCOS and you are trying to get pregnant, your doctor might recommend fertility medications, such as clomiphene, metformin or gonadotropins. These medications stimulate ovulation, which can help increase your chance of conceiving. In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is another option for infertility caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. This process involves harvesting eggs and fertilizing them in a lab dish with sperm from your partner or a donor. Your doctor will discuss fertility treatments with you after confirming that PCOS is interfering with your ability to conceive.
For more information about PCOS and other fertility topics, contact the Fertility Center of Dallas, J. Michael Putman, M.D. or call us at 214-496-5153.