PCOS and Infertility: Exploring Treatment Options
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that often affects people during their reproductive years. PCOS causes various symptoms that impact fertility, including irregular menstrual periods, hormonal imbalances, and ovarian cysts. But despite its many challenges, several successful treatment options are available for PCOS-related infertility.
How PCOS Impacts Fertility
PCOS can significantly impact fertility due to its adverse effects on regular menstrual cycles and ovulation. Here's how PCOS can impact fertility:
- Irregular or Absent Menstrual Cycles: PCOS often causes irregular menstrual cycles or the absence of menstruation (i.e., amenorrhea) caused by hormonal imbalances. More specifically, PCOS causes a high level of male hormones called androgens. These elevated levels interfere with normal hormonal signals required to regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Anovulation: Anovulation is when eggs are not released regularly from the ovaries. Without the consistent monthly production of eggs, conception is difficult.
- Ovarian Cysts: Although PCOS is named for its common symptom of ovarian cysts, not everyone with PCOS has these cysts. But when ovarian cysts do occur, they disrupt the release of eggs and alter ovarian function.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels are common symptoms of PCOS, leading to increased androgen production. Hormonal imbalances from high androgen levels can further disrupt the regular menstrual cycle and prevent eggs from being developed and released.
- Thickened Cervical Mucus: PCOS can cause abnormally thick cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to penetrate and reach the egg for fertilization.
- Increased Risk of Other Medical Conditions: PCOS is linked with high risks of other medical conditions that impact fertility and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy. These conditions include obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
PCOS-Linked Infertility Treatment Options
Treatment options for PCOS-lined infertility include:
- Medications: The first line of treatment for infertility caused by PCOS is often a medication called Clomid to stimulate ovulation. Another medication that may improve infertility is metformin which regulates insulin and helps promote regular ovulation,
- Hormone Therapy: Hormones may be given to reduce androgen levels and regulate the menstrual cycle.
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): ART involves advanced fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI often includes medications, such as Clomid, to help induce ovulation.
- Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle modifications that can boost the effectiveness of infertility treatment include a balanced diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and stress management. Stress reduction techniques, such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture, may help lower stress.
Discover PCOS Treatment Options
PCOS is a very complex condition; treatment outcomes can vary greatly depending on a person’s age, symptoms, and other factors. If you are having trouble conceiving and have been diagnosed with PCOS, it’s essential to work closely with a fertility specialist, such as the doctors who are part of The Prelude Network®. Serving fertility patients with PCOS across North America, Prelude fertility specialists can develop a personalized treatment plan based on your PCOS symptoms and fertility goals. Staying hopeful, employing patience, and seeking professional guidance are critical to a successful treatment outcome for PCOS-related infertility. Contact The Prelude Network® and schedule a consultation with a New Patient Coordinator to start your family-building journey today.