Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome & Infertility
PCOS is a shared factor for anovulation and female infertility. Anovulation occurs when the ovaries do not release an egg during menstruation, thus ceasing any possibility of pregnancy.
PCOS Infertility Causes: Why do Women with polycystic ovaries have fertility problems?
- Failure to release an egg (ovulation failure)
- Presence of ovaries with cystic structures
High levels of androgens (‘male’ hormones such as testosterone) and high insulin levels can affect the menstrual cycle, causing a hindrance in the release of egg.
When an egg fails to get released during its normal cycle, this is called anovulation. Ovulation can permanently stop or can occur erratically, causing hurdles for women with PCOS to conceive naturally, and posing a greater risk of miscarriage in some women. However, this doesn’t mean all women with PCOS are infertile.
Yes, infertility rate with polycystic ovaries tend to be high, but women with PCOS experience obstacles in getting pregnant and need certain treatments and medications to solve this issue.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome ( PCOS )Infertility Treatment
PCOS infertility treatment can greatly increase the chances of the woman to get pregnant. A notably high proportion of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome will be able to get pregnant after an infertility treatment.
PCOS Infertility Management
Even slight reductions in weight can translate into improved fertility. Hence, weight management must be considered as a primary approach in improving fertility if you are overweight. Even a five to ten percent loss of weight can lead to improved chances of getting pregnant. Current international recommendations state healthy weight or modest weight loss prior to pregnancy, which can help prevent pregnancy-related complications.
Estimate your ovulation time
As PCOS can interrupt regular periods, it’s difficult to estimate the accurate ovulation time. An ovulation calculator and an ovulation predictor kit can help you out with this. Talk to your doctor to know more.
If lifestyle and weight loss have been fruitless in improving fertility, your doctor will recommend you medication which can release your eggs and increase your chances of fertility, although temporarily.
Ovulation induction is a strategy to stimulate the ovary to produce and release eggs, by the use of medications. Once ovulation is induced, the semen can be introduced by sexual intercourse or by using artificial devices-method called as “artificial insemination”
Clomiphene Citrate, Metformin and Gonadotrophins are typically used during Ovulation Induction. Each of these has their own side effects and is to be used only under medical advice and supervision.
Talk to your doctor for seeking more information about these medicines.
Ovarian Drilling for improving fertility in PCOS
Ovarian drilling is a surgical procedure that can increase chances of egg release or ovulation. This is performed using a laparoscope. It is a minimally invasive procedure where an incision is made in the abdomen under general anesthesia. Small holes are drilled in the surface of the ovary to get rid of the tissue that produces excess male hormones or androgens. Following this procedure, ovulation can occur normally for up to a year.
As surgery is a more intensive treatment than taking medication or lifestyle treatment, ovarian drilling is not commonly used and is primarily approached when other strategies to improve PCOS symptoms fail.
Assisted reproductive technology
This includes treatments such as IVF (In vitro fertilization). To initiate these procedures, one has to be referred to a doctor known as IVF specialist, who specializes in conducting such procedures. Assisted reproductive technology is best tried after other less intensive treatments have proved to be unsuccessful, as it is often costly and demanding. This technology is also more successful in women who have followed lifestyle modification techniques to control PCOS but failed on those.