Pcos And Infertility
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is one of the main reasons for infertility problems among women. They say that excessive insulin production in some women makes their bodies respond by producing high levels of male hormones or androgens. Some women with PCOS are insulin resistant and this can lead to diabetes.
In a women’s normal menstrual cycle, a couple of follicles develop within the ovaries, each containing an egg. As the menstrual cycle progresses, only one follicle will remain and this will produce the egg during ovulation. After the egg has matured, LH levels will surge and this will cause the egg to burst. The egg bursting from the follicle causes the ovulation. Women with PCOS do not normally produce enough female hormones needed for ovulation so the follicles do not mature to become the actual eggs. Some follicles may even develop into cysts.
PCOS can be seen in an ultra sound as a “string of pearls” within the ovary. The “string of pearls” represents the follicles that have not developed. At this point, the ovaries will typically have several small cysts covering the outside, and because ovulation does not take place, progesterone is not produced that cause the lining of the uterus to thicken.
Some Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome symptoms include an irregular period or an absence itself. The older the woman is, the higher the probability for PCOS to happen and some women may also ovulate irregularly as well or not at all. Five to ten percent of women within the childbearing age show PCOS but most of them are unaware. Only less than twenty-five percent of women with PCOS have been diagnosed and some of them are lucky enough to conceive even though they have an irregular ovulation cycle. Symptoms for PCOS vary from woman to woman and these include increased hair growth on the back, chest or face, thinning hair, obesity, high insulin levels or Type 2 diabetes, acne or pelvic pain among others.
PCOS affects women’s ability to conceive due to the lack of ovulation. But there are steps that can be taken to counteract this. Some women can address PCOS thru weight loss which can also help to improve hormone imbalances. Metformin, a drug that improves insulin absorption, is considered safe to use on women who do not have diabetes. It affects insulin levels and does not directly lower blood sugar. Clomid or other fertility drugs are also used in PCOS-related infertility treatment. It blocks estrogen receptors in the brain so that the brain will register a low estrogen level. This triggers the body to produce more FSH and LH which then signals ovulation. Clomid is often successful for ovulation purposes but only thirty to forty percent of the women ovulated from Clomid will actually become pregnant.
In Vitro Maturation (IVM) and In Vitro fertilization (IVF) are also options for PCOS cases. In Vitro Maturation involves immature eggs being harvested early in a woman’s cycle. These are matured in a laboratory then used for fertilization. In the case of In Vitro Fertilization, the eggs are harvested after they are already mature. They are then fertilized before implanted in a woman’s uterus. IVF treatments also include medications that help the eggs develop. IVM is helpful for women who do not respond to drug therapy.
By: Wentzel Coetzer