Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
What is PCOS?
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects about 1 in 5 women of childbearing age and can make it more difficult to get pregnant naturally.
Symptoms of PCOS include
- Irregular periods (or no periods at all)
- Darker, thicker hair growth and acne due to increased testosterone levels
- Weight gain or obesity due to hormonal imbalances
- Difficulties falling pregnant
Based on the Rotterdam criteria a diagnosis of PCOS may be made if a women presents with any two of the following:
- Evidence of ovulation problems
- Evidence of male hormone excess
- Ultrasound evidence of polycystic ovaries
An ultrasound and blood tests may be used to confirm the diagnosis of PCOS.
Effect on fertility
Due to the hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS ovulation can occur irregularly or stop completely. This can make it more difficult for a women with PCOS to conceive naturally, and some women have an increased risk of miscarriage.
Management & Treatments
There are a number of things you can do to help manage your PCOS that can help increase your chances of falling pregnant and treatments are available if you require medical assistance.
- Weight management: If you are above a healthy weight, improvements to diet and exercise can have a positive impact on restoring hormone imbalances and regular periods to help improve your chances of falling pregnant naturally. Although weight loss can be more difficult due to the high levels of testosterone and insulin resistance, it has been shown that even a 5% loss of weight can have a significant impact.
- Insulin sensitisers such as Metformin can reduce insulin resistance and assist with weight loss
- Ovulation inducing drugs such as Clomiphene or FSH can be used the stimulate the ovaries and encourage ovulation
- In more difficult situations IVF treatment may be necessary
If you are trying to conceive please book an appointment with one of our fertility specialists who can assist in the management and treatment of PCOS to help you fall pregnant sooner. Call 1800 111 483 or request an appointment online.