Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a very common hormone disorder and affects young adolescents and 5-10% of women during their reproductive age. This is one of the leading causes of infertility among women.

Main Symptoms of PCOS:
  • Irregular periods
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant due to problems with ovulation
  • Excessive facial and body hair growth
  • Hair loss or acne due to higher levels of male hormones
Other health issues in PCOS:
  • Increased risk of Type 2 diabetes,
  • Risk of developing High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease

In women with regular menstrual cycles, every month an egg develops and is released in the mid cycle. Therefore, there is a 20% chance of conception every month. However, in women with PCOS, egg development and egg release does not happen or happens very irregularly. This is due to hormonal imbalance and affects the chance of conception naturally.

In first visit to our centre, following the consultation with our fertility specialist, the patient will have some blood tests and ultrasound to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of PCOS is based on the presenting complaint of the patient

  • If pregnancy is not desired and irregular periods is the main issue on oral contraceptive pill is often recommended to regularise the periods. If patient does prefer OCP, then progesterone withdrawal bleeding is recommended.
  • If excess facial hair is an issue, then certain medications are recommended. Most often cosmetic therapies are most useful.
  • A significant proportion of women with PCOS are overweight or obese which worsens the problem. A 5-10% loss of body weight helps with better chances of conception.
  • If fertility is desired, after initial work up the patient is started on fertility medication (oral or injectable gonadotropins) to induce ovulation. There are simple medications, which can be taken to facilitate egg growth and release under the supervision of fertility specialist, which helps in achieving a pregnancy.
  • Some patients may have other associated fertility problems apart from anovulation. They may need IUI or IVF/ICSI depending on the underlying problem.
  • Long-term risk of development of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. So, women with PCOS should focus on healthy lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise.
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