About 10% of women of childbearing age experience polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a metabolic and hormonal problem that may contribute to infertility.
If you have PCOS and want to get pregnant, we can help. Our experienced, board-certified specialists at The Endocrine Center in Houston, Texas, expertly diagnose your condition and develop a customized treatment plan that increases your chances of having a baby.
Ideally, your ovaries release an egg each month during the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle. If it’s not fertilized, it exits your body along with the menstrual fluid. However, if sperm fertilizes your egg, conception occurs, and you’re pregnant.
If you have PCOS, your body produces too many male hormones, which interferes with your reproductive system. Among other problems, your eggs may not develop properly or may not get released on time during ovulation, making it difficult to get pregnant.
In addition to infertility, you may experience other signs of hormonal imbalance, such as acne, thinning hair, irregular periods, unwanted hair growth (hirsutism), dark skin patches, and weight gain.
There are many possible causes of infertility, and PCOS is one of the most common. Fortunately, it’s also one of the most treatable.
Although PCOS isn’t curable, women who don’t want to get pregnant have many PCOS treatment options that address the symptoms, including hormone therapy (birth control), anti-androgen and diabetes medications, and laser hair removal.
Women with PCOS who do want to get pregnant follow a different treatment approach. If you’re overweight or obese, we recommend losing those extra pounds by eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise to regulate your menstrual cycle and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
We may also prescribe medications, such as Clomid, to promote ovulation.
If these steps don’t result in pregnancy, you may be a good candidate for in vitro fertilization. If so, we can refer you to a specialist.
In addition to hindering conception, PCOS can cause problems during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and miscarriage are common in women with PCOS, as are C-section deliveries.
Babies also bear the effects of PCOS. They have a higher chance of being born overweight and needing to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit.
You can increase your chances of a worry-free pregnancy by reaching a healthy weight before you get pregnant and maintaining good blood sugar levels throughout your term. Taking a folic acid supplement is also a must to support healthy development.
PCOS doesn’t mean you can’t have a baby, but it does mean you need professional medical assistance from our endocrine specialists to increase the likelihood of success. Contact us by phone or online to schedule a consultation with our experts and find out how to improve your fertility despite PCOS.