How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes a reproductive hormonal imbalance, and it affects about 10% of women of childbearing age. Because the disorder specifically impacts women’s  reproductive hormones – mainly estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone — it can cause you to have trouble conceiving.

Struggling with infertility is very hard for individuals and couples who want, more than anything, to become parents. 

The caring provider team at Garden State Women’s Center and Holy Name Medical Associates isn’t only highly skilled in delivering OB/GYN care, but they’re also sensitive to how infertility issues affect women’s lives. They offer help if you’re suffering from PCOS-related infertility and relief from the condition’s symptoms.

The lowdown on PCOS

The symptoms of PCOS include heavy periods and having a cycle that’s 35 days or longer, as well as far more subtle signs that you wouldn’t expect to be related to a gynecologic condition. Some of these are neck skin that darkens and the formation of skin tags on your neck or in your armpits, and problems with weight loss, thinning hair, excess body hair, and acne.

The period problems are experienced by many women too, which is why women don’t often realize they have PCOS or get diagnosed until they encounter fertility challenges. However, it’s not uncommon for a woman to develop PCOS in adolescence. 

In addition to infertility, PCOS can lead to serious conditions such as endometrial cancer, heart issues, and diabetes.

Women who have insulin resistance, live with obesity, and have close female family members with PCOS are at higher risk for it. 

Why PCOS leads to fertility problems

PCOS causes an increase in levels of male hormones called androgens, which can prevent you from ovulating. When eggs can’t grow and be released, you can’t become pregnant. Another symptom of PCOS is the formation of small cysts on the ovaries. 

If you suspect you have PCOS or are suffering with infertility problems, a pelvic exam and evaluation of your health history can help us arrive at a diagnosis. We’ll also perform  blood tests to measure your hormone levels and a vaginal ultrasound, which enables us to measure your ovaries.

What are my PCOS treatment options, and how can they help my fertility?

Fortunately, the Garden State Women’s Center team offers a range of treatments for your PCOS, and you can take steps to help your symptoms. 

Losing weight can be a powerful tool in fighting PCOS, since it can help normalize your hormone levels. A combination of a healthy diet and daily exercise can get you to where you want to be, and Holy Name Medical Associates is also able to offer safe,  customized plans for weight loss. 

If you’re bothered by excess hair growth, topical creams, electrolysis, and laser hair removal can all help. The medications spironolactone and eflornithine can help with facial hair growth specifically. 

We can also prescribe medications that aid in addressing the hormonal disequilibrium of PCOS, such as birth control pills, progestin, or clomiphene, a medication that helps induce ovulation. Glucophage, which helps regulate blood sugar, and the ovary-stimulating medication letrozole are other medications that we can use to help you. 

By addressing the ovulation problem that PCOS causes, your chances of conceiving go up. 

The good news is that there’s hope if you’re dealing with PCOS-related fertility problems. Call our Hackensack office at 201-228-9596 today to schedule an appointment, or book one online

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