Cause of Infertility Problems — PCOS

A female goes through several phases in a lifetime. One of the phases is pregnancy. Pregnancy is considered as the new birth of a woman. But sometimes women face problem in conceiving. This inability to get pregnant (conceive) or carry a pregnancy to full term is known as infertility. There are various causes of infertility in women. The most common issue that women face is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS — One of the causes of Infertility Problems

PCOS is also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a well-known cause of anovulation and female infertility.

It is also referred to as PCO (Polycystic Ovaries) or PCOD (Polycystic Ovarian Disease).

As per research, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome hits approximately 8–10% of women of reproductive age. It is a very common problem.

The infertility problem with polycystic ovaries is pretty high. These females normally will have trouble getting pregnant — and often, require treatment to improve chances for pregnancy.

Women with polycystic ovaries and infertility problems

  1. Do not ovulate regularly.
  2. Have ovaries that comprise many small cystic arrangements, about 2–9 mm in diameter.

How does Natural Ovulation work?

  1. A mature follicle, also known as a cystic structure develops during a normal menstrual cycle.
  2. The size of a mature follicle that is ready to ovulate is about 18 to 28mm in diameter.
  3. About fourteen days following ovulation the female is supposed to get a period if she is not pregnant.
  4. The primary distinction between polycystic and normal ovaries is that although the polycystic ovaries contain many tiny antral follicles with eggs in them, the follicles do not develop and mature properly — so there is no ovulation.
  5. Females with Polycystic Ovaries do not ovulate regularly and do not get regular menstrual periods.

Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

  1. irregular menstrual cycles called oligomenorrhea
  2. sometimes a total lack of periods referred as amenorrhea
  3. the onset of excess facial and body hair growth known as hirsutism
  4. usually, have an extra male hormones testosterone and androstenedione — resulting in high testosterone levels in the blood
  5. acne
  6. weight gain
  7. pelvic pain
  8. depression
  9. infertility

When to see a doctor for Infertility Problem?

  1. You have severe vaginal bleeding or bleeding is irregular. You are soaking through your usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours.
  2. One has regular menstrual cycles but has been trying unsuccessfully to become pregnant for more than one year.
  3. Unexplained increase in appetite, fatigue, any symptoms of diabetes, such as increased thirst and constant urination (especially at night), tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, unexplained weight loss, or blurred vision.
  4. Mood Swings or depression.
  5. Physical symptoms such as excess hair, obesity, or infertility.

Treatments for Polycystic Ovaries — Infertility Problem

  1. Healthy lifestyle such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, weight control, and not smoking
  2. Hormone therapy — doctor may give medicine such as metformin or clomiphene to help you start to ovulate. It also can help with male-type hair growth and acne
  3. Regular check-ups for catching any PCOS complications, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, uterine cancer, heart disease, and diabetes

PCOS fertility treatment options include:

  1. Femara (Letrozole)
  2. Injectable Gonadotropins
  3. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Pelvic Ultrasound is done for detection or diagnosis of PCOS. Because of follicles, the ovaries gets its characteristic feature “polycystic” (many cysts) appearance upon ultrasound.

In a polycystic ovary, there are numerous small cystic structures also called Antral Follicles.

Ultrasound Pictures: Normal Ovary vs. Polycystic Ovary

Lab tests — blood tests

  1. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), to check pregnancy
  2. TSH (Thyroid-stimulating Hormone) to check for an underactive or overactive thyroid.
  3. Testosterone — an androgen. These androgens at high levels can block ovulation causing acne, hair loss from the scalp and male-type hair growth on body and face.
  4. Insulin Resistance — Glucose tolerance and insulin levels
  5. Prolactin — it can play a part in infertility or lack of menstrual cycles.
  6. Lipid level test — Cholesterol and triglycerides.
  7. Adrenal gland hormones, such as 17-hydroxyprogesterone or DHEA-S.

Regular check-ups — for catching any PCOS complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes and uterine cancer.

Infertility Problems such as PCOS can be treated with timely diagnosis and then using suitable treatment such as In-Vitro Fertilization. Becoming aware of the PCOS like its causes, symptoms, how to diagnose it, can help women with timely treatment and healthy pregnancy.