PCOS – Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

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Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most common causes of female infertility. Approximately 5-10% of reproductive age women and almost 25% of the fertility patients who come to North Dallas IVF have been diagnosed with PCOS.  Patients with PCOS are often anovulatory or oligo-ovulatory, meaning that they have problems with ovulation. Ovulation is essential in order for the sperm-egg interaction to occur.

Common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome include irregular menstrual cycles, unwanted hair growth in the male-pattern distribution (regions such as the beard, breasts, abdomen, inner thighs), acne, and weight gain.

Diagnosing PCOS patients early is imperative for several reasons. Untreated anovulation or oligo-ovulation can lead to an abnormal overgrowth of the uterine lining (endometrial hyperplasia), placing the patient at a high risk for developing uterine cancer. Additionally, patients with PCOS are at a significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For this reason, your doctors will likely screen you for diabetes or prediabetes.

Controlling PCOS is important in lowering your related risks of miscarriage, diabetes, heart disease and uterine cancer — and helping make it possible for you to grow your family.

Observing a routine exercise regimen and following a healthy, low-glycemic diet are typically first line treatment recommendations for patients with PCOS. If a patient demonstrates signs of prediabetes or overt diabetes, medical therapy with Metformin, an insulin-sensitizing medication, may be implemented. Often times, treatment with Metformin may normalize menstrual irregularities as well.

Obesity and PCOS

Although obesity alone cannot account for all of the findings of PCOS, several studies have shown that weight loss can lead to the resumption of normal ovulation in many patients. Ask your physician, during your consult, to outline a PCOS-targeted diet regimen for you.

Treatment is Based on Your Goals

Fortunately, we have many treatment options for our infertility patients suffering from PCOS. For some patients, ovulation induction using Clomid is able to regulate cycles, allowing patients to conceive on their own with timed intercourse. Other cases require more intensive therapy with injectable gonadotropins in conjunction with IUI. Moreover, a large number of PCOS patients will need IVF in order to conceive. Several factors will need to be considered when deciding your optimal treatment plan. Your physician and care team at North Dallas IVF will help you create a personalized treatment plan for you.

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