Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Fertility
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome occurs when a woman develops multiple follicles (egg sacs) in her ovaries. Whilst these follicles aren’t harmful in themselves, they can lead to hormone imbalances – which are responsible for other symptoms such as facial hair, acne and weight gain. If you have any of the above symptoms, I suggest that you visit a specialist to confirm the diagnosis.
The exact cause of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is unknown. However, women with PCOS are also highly likely to struggle when trying to start a family and here’s why;
When you have PCOS, it changes the hormonal paths in your body that produce eggs and prepare the uterus for pregnancy. The three most important reasons why becoming pregnant, or staying pregnant may be more challenging for women with PCOS are:
- Women with PCOS often do not actually ovulate despite having active ovaries.
- Women with PCOS tend to have irregular periods rather than normal “predictable” monthly cycles, which can also mean your periods are non-existent or very heavy.
- When (and if) an egg is released, the endometrium (lining of the uterus) may not be sufficiently prepared to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Can I still get pregnant with PCOS?
In short the answer is YES! There is certainly hope for every woman diagnosed with PCOS.
PCOS is the most common type of female hormone disorder and one of the leading causes of female subfertility. The good news is that many women suffering with PCOS have highly active ovaries which may just need a little medical intervention to help prepare their body for a healthy and sustainable pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with PCOS and trying for a family, your doctor or fertility consultant will prescribe ovulation stimulants, like Clomid or FSH injections, which can be helpful. If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, you may need the expertise and advice of a fertility specialist to consider a more intensive treatment such as IVF.