Did you know polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) affects about 10% of women? This common condition develops because of hormonal imbalances and can affect your chances of having a baby.
The condition also triggers other frustrating side effects, including weight gain, irregular periods, and excess body hair.
At Willow OB/GYN in San Antonio, Texas, board-certified OB/GYN Kelly Morales, MD, FACOG, and our team specialize in helping women with PCOS improve the symptoms of their condition and increase their chances of having a baby.
Keep reading to learn what you need to know about PCOS, how it affects your fertility, and the ways our team can help.
Polycystic ovary syndrome develops due to hormonal imbalances. All women have some amount of androgens, or “male hormones,” in their system. Having too many androgens is linked with PCOS.
Much of the time, women with PCOS also have too much of another hormone: insulin. Insulin helps you convert the foods you eat into energy. Because of these imbalances, PCOS can interfere with your reproductive health.
As part of the normal female reproductive cycle, your hormones are supposed to stimulate your ovaries, triggering the production of an egg-filled cyst that is released when you ovulate. PCOS causes the development of too many cysts.
But the eggs in these many cysts don’t mature enough, so you don’t ovulate regularly. This causes your hormones to become even more imbalanced. As a result, PCOS leads to many symptoms and serious health conditions, including:
Unfortunately, PCOS is also heavily linked to infertility.
The hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS are at the root of the link between the condition and infertility. When you don’t have the right balance of estrogen and testosterone, you don’t ovulate each month.
Without ovulation, you can’t get pregnant. And when women with PCOS do ovulate, it’s usually at irregular times, making it harder to predict when they’re fertile.
In addition, the excess testosterone associated with PCOS decreases the quality of your eggs and increases your likelihood of having insulin resistance and gestational diabetes. When you do conceive, these factors make any pregnancy a higher risk for miscarriage.
The good news is that even though PCOS can make it more difficult to get pregnant, there are treatments to help women with PCOS successfully conceive and carry a baby to term. If you have PCOS and are ready to start your family, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with Dr. Morales.
Because every woman is different, Dr. Morales and the our providers at Willow OB/GYN evaluate your needs before creating a personalized PCOS treatment plan. Typically, to improve fertility when you have PCOS, Dr. Morales recommends beginning with lifestyle changes, such as:
Women who combine these lifestyle changes don’t just see an improvement in their PCOS symptoms, but also their overall health. In addition, Dr. Morales may suggest taking medications to stimulate ovulation and control insulin levels to help improve your chances of conceiving.
If you’re one of the millions of women dealing with PCOS and infertility, don’t wait to schedule an appointment at Willow OB/GYN in San Antonio, Texas.