It is estimated that around 5 million women in the United States suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome every year. PCOS is caused by an imbalance of hormones and is the most common hormone abnormality in women of reproductive age. How do you know if you have it and what does it mean for your reproductive health? We’re here to clear the air around PCOS.
What Is It Exactly?
Signs and symptoms of PCOS often appear around the time of the first menstrual period. Symptoms can also appear much later in response to gaining a large amount of weight. While symptoms of PCOS vary across the board, here are a few you might be experiencing:
- Infrequent or irregular periods - you might even experience prolonged periods.
- Elevated male hormone levels - could result in excess facial and body hair.
- Enlarged ovaries - follicles could appear around your eggs resulting in malfunctioning ovaries.
While the exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome isn’t known, there are a few factors that could play a key role. Many studies suggest that PCOS is hereditary and runs in certain genes. Excess insulin production could also be the culprit. This could increase the production of the male hormone androgen which could cause problems with ovulation.
Can I Get Pregnant With it?
Having polycystic ovary syndrome doesn’t mean pregnancy is off the table, but PCOS often leads to a hormonal imbalance that interferes with ovulation. If you are not ovulating, it is not possible to conceive naturally. However, most cases of PCOS are treatable.
Can It Be Cured?
While there is no cure for polycystic ovary syndrome, many of the symptoms are easily treatable making it possible to conceive. Consult with your healthcare professional to determine the best course of action based on your specific symptoms.
Certain medicines and pills can be taken to manage the symptoms of PCOS. Hormonal birth control like the pill, patch, shot, and vaginal ring can help balance out your menstrual cycle, reduce facial hair, and prevent acne. Speak with your doctor to determine which method is right for you.
It is possible to induce ovulation in the ovaries using certain medications. The medication will promote the development of one or more mature follicles in the ovaries of women who are unable to ovulate naturally. There are five major types of medications used: Clomid, aromatase inhibitors like Femara and letrozole, injectable gonadotropins, the GnRH pump, and Bromocriptine. You should consult with your healthcare professional to see which of these medications is right for your unique situation.
While polycystic ovary syndrome can be inconvenient, it doesn’t have to be the end of your journey towards conception. Many women who have PCOS achieve conception and reach their goal of becoming mothers. Arm yourself with knowledge and be sure to consult your healthcare professional if you have any symptoms of PCOS.
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