What Is the Main Cause of PCOS?

Posted on October 9, 2018 by NYRW

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a condition where hormonal imbalances cause women to suffer from a variety of health issues and side effects. Women with PCOS may experience unwanted hair growth, irregular periods, weight gain, acne, thinning hair, painful ovarian cysts, and infertility. Explore the causes of PCOS and what treatments may be available.

High Insulin Levels

Insulin is an important hormone in the body that regulates blood sugar levels. When you eat, your blood sugar raises, which triggers your pancreas to produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels steady. PCOS can be caused by insulin resistance, where the body's cells do not respond appropriately to insulin. This means that insulin remains in the bloodstream. Women who are overweight, don't get enough healthy physical activity, or have a history of type II diabetes in the family are more at risk of developing PCOS. Insulin resistance can, over time, can result in type II diabetes.

High Androgen Levels

Although considered "male" hormones, women make androgens too. However, they typically don't make as much as men do. PCOS can be caused by a higher than normal amount of androgens for women, which can result in delayed ovulation, unwanted hair growth, hair thinning, and acne.

PCOS and Pregnancy

Having PCOS doesn't mean that you can never get pregnant. However, it may mean that you experience challenges when attempting to conceive and intervention is needed. A fertility evaluation can be performed to determine if PCOS is causing the delay of ovulation, which may be contributing to or causing your infertility.

Treatments for PCOS

PCOS can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. When considering infertility caused by PCOS, it's considered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health to be one of the most common and treatable causes of PCOS.

Ovulation Induction

Some women with polycystic ovary syndrome are excellent candidates for ovulation induction. Since they aren't ovulating normally on their own, special medications can be prescribed to stimulate the ovaries to release an egg.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Often, ovulation induction is combined with intrauterine insemination (IUI) to increase the chances of conception. With IUI, sperm are separated from semen and inserted directly into the uterus at the time of ovulation. This enables more sperm to reach the end of the fallopian tubes, thus making fertilization more likely.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

For women who have PCOS and have tried ovulation induction and IUI without success, in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be another option. Although it's a more intensive treatment for infertility, it has a high success rate. Eggs are harvested from the mother's ovaries and sperm is harvested from the father. Eggs are fertilized outside the body using the latest technology and developed embryos are reinserted into the uterus through a catheter.

Contact New York Reproductive Wellness Today

New York Reproductive Wellness is a leader in reproductive technology for both men and women. If you suffer from infertility due to PCOS, we can help. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your unique needs by calling (516) 757-7673.



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College of American Pathologists
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