Polycystic Ovarian
Syndrome (PCOS)

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Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition where the ovaries contain small cysts or follicles that may not grow to maturity or produce eggs capable of being fertilized. If you are of reproductive age PCOS can affect your fertility and make it more difficult for you to become pregnant naturally. PCOS is commonly associated with irregular menstrual periods.

At Footsteps To Fertility Centre, we use the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options to help women understand the causes of the polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and obtain the necessary treatment so they can grow the family of their dreams.

Signs and Symptoms of PCOS

Apart from irregular periods, other symptoms may include a total lack of periods through to heavy prolonged or erratic menstrual bleeding. This may lead to delays in getting pregnant however may also be associated with abnormalities within the uterus.

Women with PCOS often find they gain weight easily with up to two-thirds above the recommended body mass index (BMI). These women often need help to lose weight which can improve their chances of conceiving and reduce their chance of pregnancy complications.

Imbalances in hormonal production affect ovulation, which may occur irregularly or not at all. There may also be a mild increase in testosterone levels, causing darker and thicker hair growth and acne. Hormonal imbalances also cause problems with sugar metabolism, leading to insulin resistance and a higher risk of diabetes if you do fall pregnant or as you get older.

Does PCOS affect a woman’s ability to conceive?

If you’re living with PCOS, the excessive male hormones that your body is creating can interfere with the production of the female hormones that your body needs in order to ovulate.

Because your body is not ovulating, progesterone (the hormone that causes the lining of the uterus to thicken) is not being produced. Due to unbalanced hormones, ovulation and menstruation can be irregular. Unpredictable menstrual cycles can also make it difficult to get pregnant.

If you become pregnant with PCOS, you may wonder how the syndrome will affect your pregnancy. Having PCOS and getting pregnant does increase the risk of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, or premature delivery. Still, in general, women with PCOS do experience healthy pregnancies.


How is PCOS diagnosed?

To help diagnose PCOS and rule out other causes of your symptoms, your doctor may talk to you about your medical history and do a physical exam and different tests:

  • Physical exam. Your doctor will measure your blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and waist size. They will also look at your skin for extra hair on your face, chest or back, acne, or skin discoloration. Your doctor may look for any hair loss or signs of other health conditions such as an enlarged thyroid gland.
  • Pelvic exam. Your doctor may do a pelvic exam for signs of extra male hormones (for example, an enlarged clitoris) and check to see if your ovaries are enlarged or swollen.
  • Pelvic ultrasound (sonogram). This test uses soundwaves to examine your ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).
  • Blood tests. Blood tests check your androgen hormone levels, sometimes called “male hormones.” Your doctor will also check for other hormones related to other common health problems that can be mistaken for PCOS, such as thyroid disease. Your doctor may also test your cholesterol levels and test you for diabetes.

Fertility Treatment For PCOS

If you have PCOS and getting pregnant is your ultimate dream, there are some treatments that may help you bring home a baby.

  • Natural PCOS fertility aids. There are steps you can take to naturally bring about ovulation. By maintaining a healthy weight and eating fewer processed foods or foods without added sugar, you can improve your body’s use of insulin and balance your hormone levels. Weight loss can help to regulate your cycle, improve the frequency of ovulation, lower androgen levels and thereby improve your fertility.
  • Fertility medications. Fertility drugs may help symptoms of PCOS in an attempt to temporarily assist with ovulation.
  • IVF. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is another great option for getting pregnant with PCOS. Many women with PCOS have had great success with IVF, getting pregnant and bringing home healthy babies.
  • Ovarian drilling. Your doctor may have talked to you about a minimally-invasive surgery to induce ovulation.

At Footsteps To Fertility Centre we recognize that no two cases of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are exactly alike.

Our fertility expert takes an individualized approach to patient care, working closely with each woman to determine the best treatment plan given her symptoms and complications, which may include irregular menstrual problems, infertility, depression or diabetes.

If you have PCOS and getting pregnant is your ultimate goal, feel free to contact us soon. Your fertility specialist, Dr. Wanjiru Ndegwa will help you find the most effective treatment options, including fertility-boosting medications and high-tech modalities, if necessary, to help you get pregnant and start a family.

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