By Dr. Mala Raj, Gynaecology
Short for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, there’s actually a good chance someone you know has it. That’s because PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility, affecting one in 10 women of childbearing age. While this condition can make conception more challenging, there are many women with PCOS who have delivered healthy babies. Here’s what you need to know to boost your odds of getting pregnant and have a healthy baby.
What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?
Eggs typically grow in tiny fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries (called follicles or cysts). As each egg becomes mature, the follicle containing it breaks open to release it (ovulation). PCOS interferes with this process. The ovaries of women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal levels of the male hormone androgen, which stops follicles from breaking open and releasing their eggs – resulting in irregular or absent periods. These fluid-filled follicles then remain in the ovaries as cysts, making it increasingly difficult (but not impossible) to conceive.
What are the Causes?
While doctors are not sure about the precise causes of PCOS, the following have been linked to the condition:
- Excess insulin.
- Being overweight or obese.
Common Symptoms Include:
- Sudden weight gain
- Excess hair on body and face
- Irregularities in periods
- Fertility problems
- lifestyle modification- shifting to a healthy lifestyle and regular physical activity, restriction on intake of refined sugars helps many women conceive spontaneously.
- oral or injectable medications to enhance ovulation and the natural trial is the initial step of treatment.
- insulin sensitizers like metformin help in women resistant to oral ovulation-inducing drugs.
- gonadotropins and intrauterine insemination.
- IVF with or without downregulation.
- invitromaturation or IVM to avoid complications like hyperstimulation.