Ovarian Cysts Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Pcos Infertility

PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a common cause of fertility problems for women. PCOS infertility accounts for approximately 70 percent of ovulation problems that affect fertility. Treatment of PCOS infertility ranges from hormone injections to a PCOS fertility diet.

Causes of PCOS Infertility

Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects ovulation in several ways. In a normal ovulation pattern, an egg develops in an ovarian follicle. The follicle releases the egg once it is mature and ready to be fertilized.

PCOS interrupts the egg maturation process. Instead of releasing the egg, the follicle remains immature and turns into a cyst. Multiple cysts build up on the ovaries over time, sometimes causing PCOS infertility.

A lack of proper ovulation affects a woman’s menses or “period.” Women with PCOS may have irregular menstruation (oligomenorrhea) or have no periods at all (amenorrhea).

Fertility with PCOS

Fertility with PCOS is not impossible. Many women who experience PCOS infertility conceive and carry children to term with the proper treatment.

Diagnosis of PCOS is vital to properly treat infertility. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome are often unaware that they have the condition. Early diagnosis of PCOS helps women consider their fertility treatment options, as well as prevent a number of PCOS-related health complications.

PCOS Infertility Treatment

PCOS infertility treatment includes the use of fertility medication that stimulates ovulation. Hormonal injections may be used to encourage fertility with PCOS. Drugs designed to combat insulin resistance (a common problem associated with PCOS) may also be used.

A surgical procedure known as “ovarian drilling” can also stimulate ovulation. Ovarian drilling makes small holes in the ovaries. Researchers don’t quite understand why this procedure would work as a PCOS infertility treatment. However in one recent study, a year after surgery, approximately 60 to 80 percent of women with PCOS infertility were able to conceive. Because this procedure is so invasive, a doctor may attempt other polycystic ovarian syndrome infertility treatments first.

PCOS Fertility Diet

Some medical professionals have suggested the “PCOS fertility diet” as a possible solution to polycystic ovarian syndrome infertility. The PCOS fertility diet usually reduces grains and fruits in favor of protein and vegetables. Some women report successful conception with a PCOS fertility diet, but few studies exist to confirm the diet’s benefits.

Simply losing weight may be more beneficial than a specific PCOS fertility diet. Obesity and weight gain are common symptoms of PCOS. A weight loss of only 5 percent total body weight is enough to increase ovulation in women with PCOS infertility.

PCOS and Pregnancy

Overcoming PCOS infertility is quite possible: Most women under the age of 35 find at least one PCOS fertility treatment that works for them. In addition, many women report that conception becomes easier after the first pregnancy.

Pregnancy itself must be carefully monitored if the expectant mother has PCOS. Miscarriage is a serious complication–as many as 50 percent of women with PCOS experience miscarriage, compared to 15 percent in the general population.

Gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension are also more common in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. Maintaining a healthy diet and following doctor’s recommendations are the best defenses against miscarriage and other pregnancy complications with PCOS.


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National Women’s Health Information Center Staff. (2007). Polycystic ovary syndrome: Frequently asked questions. Retrieved February 19, 2010, from the Women’s Health Web site: http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/polycystic-ovary-syndrome.cfm#j.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Staff. (2008). Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Retrieved February 19, 2010, from the National Institute of Child Health and Development Web site: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/PCOS_booklet.pdf.

Washington Post Staff. (2000). Low carbohydrate PCOS diets: Hoax or cure? Retrieved February 19, 2010, from the Cushing’s Help Web site: http://www.cushings-help.com/pcos_diet.htm.

Women’s Health Staff. (n.d.). PCOS and infertility. Retrieved February 19, 2010, from the Women’s Health Web site: http://www.womens-health.co.uk/pcos5.asp.