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Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a common condition to affect women. This is a hormonal issue that is also one of the most common causes of infertility. As a result of PCOS, the ovaries may be bigger than normal. These may have a number of tiny cysts that do not allow eggs to mature. The two main ways PCOS can interfere with fertility are:
Differences in Hormone Levels
The main different types of hormones in the reproductive system are estrogen and androgens. Typically, androgens are converted to estrogen in the case of women. An excessive amount of androgen hormones can lead to the development of male characteristics and traits. Some of the examples of such traits are increased facial hair and body hair. As a result of PCOS, the level of androgen may increase in comparison to estrogen and hence cause infertility.
Healthy ovaries will release an egg every month. This process is known as ovulation. However, in the case of PCOS, a high level of androgens can interfere with the regular release of eggs from the ovaries. Thus, many women who suffer from PCOS experience have irregular menstrual periods. If the egg is not released in time, it cannot be fertilized by sperm and hence conception cannot occur.
The good news is that a diagnosis of PCOS does not imply that a woman can never become a mother. Fertility treatment for PCOS has a very high success rate. Doctors who can help treat PCOS and infertility are known as fertility specialists. Some of the methods used to treat infertility caused by PCOS are:
- Medication to help regulate Menstrual Periods: Birth control medication not only prevents unwanted pregnancies but can also help regulate menstruation. These pills contain estrogen and progestin that can reduce the androgen levels in a woman’s body. By regulating menstruation, an egg will be released at the opportune time so as to allow them to be fertilized by sperm. In addition, medication may also be prescribed to help a woman ovulate.
- Lifestyle Changes: Making a few lifestyle changes can also help increase the chances of conception. For example, weight gain is one of the effects of PCOS. However, controlling your weight and reducing it can help normalize hormone levels. This, in turn, can help regulate menstruation and aid in conception. Some of the ways to achieve this are by exercising regularly, eating a healthy, balanced diet and finding effective ways to deal with stress. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!