Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common female hormone imbalance that may affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiovascular system and physical appearance. The term describes the appearance of the ovaries on an ultrasound scan--there may be 12 or more cysts on the ovaries, ranging in size from 2mm to 9mm. This imbalance in hormone production means that egg ovulation may occur irregularly or not at all, making it difficult to get pregnant naturally.
How do I know if I have PCOS?
Those with PCOS meet two out of the three following criteria:
- Oligomenorrhea (having your menses every 40 to 60 days)
- Androgen excess (by blood test or physical appearance such as acne or oily skin)
- More than 12 follicles appearing by ultrasound
What are the symptoms of PCOS?
- Irregular or no periods
- Difficulty becoming pregnant
- Being overweight, rapid increase in weight
- Having more facial or body hair than usual
- Patches of skin that are thick and dark brown
- Skin tags (excess flaps of skin around the neck and in the armpits)
- Loss of hair on the head
- Oily skin, acne
- Depression and mood swings
- Pelvic pain
- Sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping)
What causes PCOS?
The cause of PCOS is not yet fully known, however, it may have a genetic basis as it oftentimes runs in families. If any of your relatives (mother, aunts, sisters) are affected with PCOS, your own risk of developing PCOS may be higher.
How may PCOS affect my fertility?
- Anovulation: Some women with PCOS may get pregnant on their own. In many cases, PCOS affects a woman’s fertility by causing irregular periods or no periods at all. During a normal menstrual cycle, follicles on the ovaries grow into eggs that are released in a process called ovulation. PCOS may prevent ovulation thus prohibiting follicles from maturing regularly in a cycle.
- Excessive Weight Gain : One common symptom of PCOS is excessive weight gain. This additional weight further decreases the chance of ovulation and can also make women more resistant to simple ovulation inducing drugs.
How can IVF Michigan Fertility Center help me if I have PCOS?
IVF Michigan Fertility Center is an expert in helping women with PCOS conceive or reduce symptoms. Our team of IVF Specialists, Gynecologists and Endocrinologists has developed programs for women with PCOS who are attempting to get pregnant or who would like to reduce PCOS symptoms. To discuss your symptoms and medical history, book an appointment with IVF Michigan Fertility Center today.