Women who suffer from PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, may experience an array of health problems, including an irregular menstrual cycle, the development of ovarian cysts, and difficulty becoming pregnant. At Dr. Sonja Kristiansen’s Houston fertility center, women can receive PCOS treatment that can increase the chances of pregnancy.
Some women may not immediately be aware that they are suffering from PCOS. Women who experience an irregular menstrual cycle and have had a difficult time becoming pregnant should look out for these additional symptoms of PCOS:
- The development of male-like characteristics, including body hair on the chest, stomach, or face; decreased breast size; thinning hair on the head; or a deepening voice
- Changes to the skin, including increased acne and darkening of the skin around the armpits, groin, and/or breasts
If any of these conditions are present, an exam can be performed to look for additional signs of PCOS, including swollen ovaries or cysts in the ovaries.
PCOS is believed to be caused primarily by an imbalance or change in hormone levels. Specifically, women who suffer from PCOS usually have decreased levels of estrogen or progesterone, which are the hormones that help the ovaries release healthy eggs. In addition, these women often have an increased level of androgen, which is a male hormone that is typically only present in a woman’s body in very small levels. This imbalance of hormones impairs the body’s ability to release healthy eggs, leading to ovarian cysts and infertility issues.
The good news for women who suffer from PCOS is that there are treatments available. Many women who suffer from PCOS are overweight or obese. If this is the case, it is recommended that the patient lose weight. Even losing just 5 percent of body weight can help balance hormones, decrease health problems, and improve the chances of pregnancy. Many women will require medical treatment for PCOS as well. Birth control is a common treatment for those women who are not attempting to become pregnant, as the hormones it contains help make the menstrual cycle more regular. For those women who are trying to have a child, the best treatment options include the use of fertility medications that help the ovaries to produce and release healthy eggs. Not only will these medications help balance the hormones and regulate the menstrual cycle to eliminate the symptoms of PCOS, they can also help women become pregnant. For our patients in Houston, in vitro fertilization may be recommended if women continue to have difficulty becoming pregnant even after they have been on medication to treat PCOS.
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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is a leading fertility specialist in Houston. Whether PCOS or another condition is behind your infertility problems, Dr. Kristiansen can help. After determining the cause of infertility, Dr. Kristiansen will determine the best treatment available to help you realize the dream of parenthood. Schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience to learn about the many fertility treatment options available for patients with PCOS.