doctor holding PCOS awareness ribbon

How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?

Have you ever heard of PCOS before? Even more importantly, do you know what PCOS is? Being aware of the details about this hormonal disorder is very important to understanding women’s health and fertility, so read on to learn more about PCOS.

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This hormonal disorder affects 5-10% of women and can have a drastic impact on a woman’s fertility and ability to conceive and have a successful pregnancy. PCOS occurs when there is an imbalance of reproductive hormones in a woman’s body, leading to problems in the ovaries. With PCOS, each element of the disorder impacts another. When the ovaries are not functioning properly, they are unable to consistently release eggs, which can lead to irregular periods. Irregular periods can then be the cause of infertility, as well as the development of cysts in the ovaries.

What are the Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?

PCOS is characterized by an interruption to the menstrual cycle and an increase in male hormones, and its symptoms are dependent on these specific issues.

Symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Irregular periods (or no periods at all)
  • Weight gain
  • Darkening of the skin
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Depression and anxiety

Symptoms of PCOS that are directly related to the increase of male hormones (androgens) in the body include:

  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism) in unwanted areas, such as the face, chest, or back
  • Acne or oily skin
  • Male-pattern baldness (including thinning hair or hair loss)

How Does PCOS Impact Fertility and Pregnancy?

PCOS is one of the leading causes of female infertility, and can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. When the ovulation cycle is affected by the hormonal abnormalities present in women with PCOS, an egg is not released each month. When ovulation does not occur, pregnancy is not possible. For women with PCOS, ovulation can be difficult to predict even when periods do occur. Most women with PCOS are not even aware that they have it until they attempt to get pregnant and find it to be difficult, resulting in a visit to their doctor. The disorder can also cause certain complications with pregnancy. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk for a number of pregnancy-related issues, including miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Although PCOS increases the difficulty of getting pregnant and pregnancy-related complications, pregnancy can still be possible with the help of certain medications and with help from a specialist.

Treatment Options for PCOS

There is no current cure for PCOS, but treatment can focus on a woman’s individual concerns, and be used to address and manage symptoms. Lifestyle changes can have a positive impact for those with PCOS. For example, weight loss can have an extremely positive effect – relieving symptoms, improving insulin sensitivity, and even re-regulating periods. When it comes to specific symptoms, medications can be prescribed to regulate the menstrual cycle, assist with ovulation, and reduce excessive hair growth. Treatments administered depend on a woman’s individual concerns, especially about which symptoms she wants to address first.

PCOS Treatment in New York

PCOS can be a difficult disorder to deal with, but our team of doctors at NYU Langone Reproductive Specialists of New York is here to provide treatment and support. Our staff of experts is dedicated to putting our patients first and providing individualized care, offering a variety of infertility treatments to make parenthood a possibility for you. If you are dealing with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and the fertility issues that come along with it, contact us today to learn more about the services and treatments we can offer you.