Ovation Fertility partner physicians are skilled at diagnosing and treating polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, refers to a condition that impacts 10%-20% of women suffering from ovulatory dysfunction. PCOS can cause numerous problems, including infertility. Our Ovation Fertility partner physicians have special expertise that allows them to successfully diagnose and treat PCOS.
PCOS has been characterized as an anatomical, endocrine and metabolic disorder.
Diagnosing PCOS usually involves taking a patient’s medical history, performing blood work to potentially check androgen levels and glucose tolerance, and performing a transvaginal ultrasound to evaluate a woman’s ovaries. A fertility specialist may also conduct tests to rule out other conditions, such as thyroid problems and excessive production of prolactin.
Once other similar conditions have been excluded, an Ovation partner physician can make a diagnosis of PCOS if certain diagnostic criteria are present. These include:
- A chronic failure to ovulate, as demonstrated by irregular or absent ovulation.
- The presence of excess male hormone, known as androgen, or polycystic ovaries.
- Abnormal glucose metabolism, as evidenced by an abnormal two-hour glucose tolerance test or other test.
Women with PCOS may also present with symptoms such as acne, weight gain, depression, fertility problems and excessive hair growth on the face and body.
To treat PCOS and prevent other health problems, fertility specialists recommend that patients control their weight with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
Maintaining a healthy weight when you have PCOS is so important that, if you are overweight, losing just 10 pounds may be enough to help balance your hormones so that you can re-establish a regular menstrual cycle.
Your doctor may also prescribe birth control pills to reduce the symptoms of PCOS, or metformin with or without other ovulation-inducing medications, to help establish ovulation and a regular menstrual cycle.
Treating polycystic ovarian syndrome can help you avoid other medical conditions.
Women with PCOS are often at an increased risk for other health conditions, including:
- Endometrial cancer
- Type II diabetes
- Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides
- Heart disease
Maintaining a healthy weight and diet can help you avoid these health problems later in life.
Infertility caused by PCOS is often treated with medications for ovulation induction.
If you’re not overweight, or if weight loss alone doesn’t help you start ovulating, your physician may prescribe oral or injectable medications for ovulation induction. The use of oral medications, like Clomid or Femara, and injectable fertility medications, known as gonadotropins, is quite common for patients with PCOS.
While treatment for ovulation induction will not prevent health problems like diabetes or hypertension, they can help you get pregnant and experience the joys of motherhood.
If you would like more information about PCOS, please contact an Ovation partner physician.