PCOS – The Leading Cause of Female Infertility
Maybe you’ve heard of PCOS before, but what really is it? PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance. It is extremely common and is the leading cause of female infertility. This condition can cause small cysts, or sacs of fluid, to form in the ovaries, the organs responsible for storing eggs and producing hormones impacting pregnancy. In both males and females, the delicate balance of male and female hormones is crucial for the development of gender-specific characteristics and ability to reproduce. In PCOS, the male sex hormones are over-expressed in the female body, causing a constellation of symptoms.
- Irregular and infrequent menstruation
- Increased body and facial hair
- Acne that can be difficult to treat
- Scalp hair loss
- Skin darkening particularly in skin folds (armpits, neck, groin, under breasts)
Risks associated with PCOS
- Female infertility
- Increased risk for diabetes
- Increased risk for high blood pressure
- Increased risk for cardiac disease
- Increased risk for endometrial cancer
The mainstay of treatment involved birth control pills to increase the concentration of female hormones in the body. At times, medications to treat diabetes and medications that block the effect of male hormones have a role in the treatment of PCOS.
Is pregnancy still an option?
Yes! While it can be more difficult, there are medications to induce ovulation, or egg release from the ovary. In addition, in-vitro fertilization can be considered.
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-Written by Paavana Varanasi