It is observed that around 6-12% of reproductive-aged women are affected with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is associated with multiple medical conditions with one common characteristic; multiple cysts which are actually immature follicles that look like a bunch of grapes on the surface of the ovaries. Hence the name polycystic ovary.

Another characteristic of polycystic ovaries is enhanced levels of androgens and insulin that can not only affect the ability to conceive but can also cause certain pregnancy complications. PCOS is majorly associated with infertility for a reason that it causes amenorrhea or absence of menstruation and anovulation or lack of ovulation leading to fertility problems.

Advanced techniques in reproductive medicine have countered a lot of fertility issues. With timely diagnosis and proper fertility treatments, PCOS can be treated and all the associated complications too can be countered.

Get answers for your questions through this article:

  • Can PCOS cause infertility or Can PCOS cause permanent infertility?
  • How does PCOS make you infertile?
  • How to treat PCOS infertility?

Table of Contents

Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:

  1. What is PCOS?
  2. PCOS and Infertility
  3. Will PCOS affect pregnancy?
  4. When to see a Gynecologist?
  5. How to treat PCOS infertility?

Takeaway

1. What is PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal disorder of the ovaries where excess androgens are produced. Androgens are male hormones found in both men and women. In women, androgens are produced by the ovaries which are later converted to estrogen. This conversion process does not occur efficiently leading to an increase in androgen levels causing PCOS.

The reduced amounts of estrogen affect the ovulation process and ovulation does not take place in time or delayed ovulation is seen. Irregular ovulation/ no ovulation leads to the formation of many fluid-filled cysts over the surface of the ovaries that look like a bunch of pearls when viewed under ultrasound.

Certain studies suggest that almost 50% – 70% of women with PCOS develop insulin resistance and have the potential to develop pre-diabetic or type 2 diabetic conditions because of an increase in androgen levels.

Why does PCOS cause insulin resistance? Insulin is produced in the pancreas to convert glucose into glycogen. But, in women with PCOS, an increased androgen level prohibits efficient or quick action of insulin to convert glucose into this form. This results in increased glucose levels in the blood and low energy.

Genetic inheritance of genes linked to PCOS, obesity, inflammations are other factors that can increase androgens leading to PCOS.

Women with PCOS experience wide-ranging clinical manifestations such as irregular menstruation, excessive and unwanted hair growth (Hirsutism), oily and acne-prone skin, hair loss especially on the scalp, sleep apnea, headache, etc. PCOS can also increase the risk of various metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

How do I know if I’m ovulating with PCOS? Women with PCOS can accurately check whether they are ovulating by a simple ovulation prediction kit which detects LH surge in the menstrual cycle. An increase in progesterone levels in the blood and certain symptoms such as the cervical mucus (a white discharge) can confirm it.

2. PCOS and Infertility

Let’s learn how women with polycystic ovary syndrome have fertility issues by getting complete knowledge & overviewing Infertility. Infertility is defined as the condition of the reproductive system in which a woman is unable to attain pregnancy. In a regular menstrual cycle of 28 days, a woman develops follicles in the ovaries to produce one mature egg. After 12-14 days of menstruation the mature eggs are released from the ovaries into the uterus. This process of release of eggs is called ovulation and is catalyzed by hormones.

In women with PCOS, the imbalance of hormones leads to no or less conversion of estrogen and accumulation of androgens. Since there is a disturbance in the hormonal harmony, the ovaries do not release the egg or the follicles do not break through and ovulation does not occur. It is common in the case of PCOS that women have prolonged gaps of around 2 to 6 months between two menstrual cycles. Since the eggs do not ovulate (anovulation) to fertilize with the sperm, PCOS women face fertility issues.

PCOS infertility rate accounts for nearly 20 -25% of all the causes of infertility. It is also noted that more than 50% of PCOS cases go undiagnosed as well. It is when a fertility specialist is approached, PCOS gets diagnosed.

How PCOS can make you infertile? It is seen that the development of eggs and their release are off-sync causing irregular ovulation/delayed ovulation. Sometimes, the menstrual period is prolonged for more than 35 days or even amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) is observed in some cases of PCOS, making it hard for women with PCOS to get pregnant.

3. Will PCOS affect pregnancy?

Treating and managing PCOS can help improve the chances of achieving pregnancy. Studies suggest that PCOS pregnancy success rate is more than 70% provided assisted reproductive methods are used. This is because women with PCOS have a high ovarian reserve as they ovulate irregularly, and more follicles get accumulated.

Is getting pregnant with PCOS after 30 possible? Keeping all the given parameters and risks involved, The Centre for Human Reproduction (CHR) defines under 40 years as the best age to get pregnant with PCOS. If a woman with PCOS gets pregnant, she will need more caution and regular monitoring to manage during her pregnancy term. In some cases, an imbalance of hormones in PCOS can create certain difficulties that will need proper treatment and management.

We have known that PCOS causes insulin resistance. The increase in blood glucose levels in pregnant PCOS mothers can lead to gestational diabetes. In most cases, this condition goes away after childbirth and does not affect the child. But, women with PCOS and Diabetes together can have a sudden dip in sugar levels, breathing issues, or preeclampsia ( a sudden rise in blood pressure after the 5th month of gestation) during her pregnancy term and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes post-delivery.

Can PCOS cause miscarriage? Statistical data shows that women with PCOS are three times more likely to have a miscarriage. But, advanced techniques in reproduction have helped avert such chances.

4. When to see a Gynecologist?

Visit the gynecologist when

  • Your periods are irregular or absence of menstruation
  • You experience heavy flow with less frequent periods
  • Excess of unwanted hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne and hair thinning/loss similar to that in men
  • Inability to conceive

5. How to treat PCOS infertility?

Treating PCOS begins with management of the symptoms and helping ovulate regularly through hormonal therapy, medications, PCOS diet for infertility, and exercise. Other treatment options to help you with PCOS and fertility issues include:

  • Ovulation Induction: The primary effort to help gain fertility in PCOS is to induce ovulation. Ovulation induction is usually the first treatment option that is considered while one is trying to get pregnant with PCOS. Ovulation induction involves the administration of hormonal medications to help stimulate the ovulation process.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Intrauterine Insemination, IUI allows fertilization during the right ovulation period. In IUI, hormonal interventions help complete the ovulation process. During the fertile days of the menstrual cycle, the washed semen sample of a partner is inserted inside the uterus to accomplish fertilization within.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART): In Vitro Fertilization (IVF); a type of ART offers fertility medications that help release an adequate number of mature eggs. The eggs are retrieved from the woman’s ovaries that are fertilized in a lab and the embryo of 3-5 days is later transferred into the uterus of the woman or frozen for an embryo transfer later.
  • The third-party Assisted IVF (Donor egg/sperm/embryo): Most couples with PCOS infertility do not go for a donor requirement or a gestational carrier until they have had recurrent IVF failures or are in their advanced maternal age.

How to Cure PCOS Permanently? OMYA Specialises in advanced ART can help you with your PCOS issues with the help of various infertility treatment doctors. On a case-to-case basis, women with PCOS may experience many other symptoms which need specialized treatment and management.

Takeaway

Statistically, it is seen that PCOS and infertility always go hand in hand. Women with PCOS need comprehensive care because of the multi symptomatic conditions. PCOS with proper management and application of advanced reproductive techniques is known to help you sail through all the fertility hurdles to achieve pregnancy. At OMYA, our team of fertility specialists is experienced in treating various clinical complications associated with PCOS.

OMYA combines cutting-edge technology with experienced hands to deliver high-quality affordable treatment and care.