PCOS: Understanding Infertility's Most Common Cause and Your Treatment Options

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of irregular menstrual cycles and infertility is one of the common symptoms of PCOS. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available that can help you overcome the fertility challenges associated with PCOS.

At Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, with locations in Parker, Colorado, and Rapid City, South Dakota, Reproductive Endocrinologist Dr. Deborah Smith, specializes in managing PCOS. Her expertise in treating PCOS is well-respected by her peers and greatly appreciated by her patients.

Dr. Smith shares more details about PCOS and the treatments that can help you achieve your goal of becoming pregnant and delivering a healthy baby.

Understanding PCOS

PCOS is a condition that interferes with your ovaries’ ability to ovulate or regularly produce and release mature eggs. Ovulation is necessary for pregnancy.

We do know that women with PCOS typically have higher-than-average levels of androgens, the so-called “male hormones,” which include testosterone. Women normally produce androgens, but at a much lower level than men.

High androgen levels in women can interfere ovulation. Androgens are also responsible for male traits such as increased hair growth on the face/body and male pattern baldness, which are also symptoms of PCOS in women.

Insulin is another hormone that seems to play a significant role in PCOS. Many women with PCOS also have insulin resistance, and is related to obesity, an unhealthy diet, and lack of physical exercise.

Spotting the symptoms of PCOS

PCOS symptoms can vary but often include:

For many women, the first indication that PCOS may be a concern occurs when they have difficulty achieving a healthy pregnancy.

Because many of these symptoms can also be related to conditions other than PCOS, Dr. Smith often considers the combination of symptoms when evaluating you for PCOS. If, for instance, you have Type 2 diabetes, a history of irregular periods, and hirsutism, she’s likely to obtain blood tests and other diagnostic studies to help confirm the diagnosis of PCOS as the cause of infertility.

Treating infertility caused by PCOS

At Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, Dr. Smith takes a comprehensive, patient-centered approach to treating PCOS and the resulting issues with infertility.

For you, she may suggest lifestyle changes that can help regulate your periods, which may include:

To help you achieve pregnancy, she may recommend medication such as letrozole to induce ovulation.

If more conservative therapy fails, Dr. Smith may suggest in vitro fertilization (IVF). During this procedure, your egg is fertilized with sperm in a controlled laboratory setting before being placed in your uterus.

IVF typically has a better success rate than medication therapy alone. Because your specialist can transfer just one fertilized egg to the uterus, IVF also helps control the possibility of becoming pregnant with twins, triplets, or more.  

If you suspect or already know that PCOS is causing your infertility, schedule a visit with us at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center today. Call the office or book your appointment online.  

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