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PCOS: What You Should Know About the Most Common Cause of Female Infertility

Ouch.

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you should know about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), because it’s one of the most common causes of infertility in women. Unfortunately, many women with PCOS don’t know they have it. 

PCOS is a condition in which imbalanced hormone levels can contribute to a variety of health issues, including problems with egg production and egg release by your ovaries.

Lauren Rubal MD, a fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinology and infertility

specialist, wants to tell you more about this common medical condition. 

 

Here are four important facts about PCOS for women who are struggling to get pregnant.

Fact #1: Many women have PCOS

PCOS affects 1 in 10 of women of childbearing age, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health.

Fact #2: PCOS can cause a range of symptoms

Women with PCOS have higher-than-normal levels of androgens (male hormones) in their bodies. These hormone imbalances lead to the formation of cysts in the ovaries. These cysts can interfere with the proper functioning of the ovaries, whose job it is to release eggs.

PCOS may cause symptoms that include:

Fact #3: Infertility is common in women with PCOS

Infertility – the ability to get or stay pregnant – affects as many as 70-80% of women with PCOS. In fact, many women first discover they have PCOS when during a medical evaluation for infertility.

Fact #4: PCOS-related infertility is treatable

The good news for women with PCOS is that having it doesn’t mean you can’t become pregnant. In fact, PCOS is one of the most treatable causes of female infertility. 

Some of the treatment options for women with PCOS who want to become pregnant include:

Weight loss

Losing even a modest amount of weight though diet and exercise can sometimes improve the odds of conception in PCOS patients who are overweight or obese.

Ovulation medications

Drugs such as clomiphene can help regulate ovulation by stimulating the ovaries to produce and release eggs.

Assisted-reproduction techniques

In vitro fertilization and other assisted-reproductive techniques help many women with PCOS become pregnant.

Surgery

In some cases, laser surgery to the outer surface of the ovaries can help to temporarily restore ovulation.  

Have your infertility evaluated

If you have PCOS symptoms and are having trouble getting pregnant, Dr. Rubal can help. She has extensive experience diagnosing and treating PCOS and other causes of infertility. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubal at our office in Newport Beach, California, call 949-339-1382 or use our online scheduling tool to make an appointment.

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