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Houston Fertility Center

Miscarriage and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): What Is the Connection?

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on August 29, 2015

A woman's reproductive systemHere at Houston Fertility Center, we take great care when determining which infertility treatment is right for a patient's situation. We look at medical records and other factors when customizing a therapy to the patient, whether the patient is an individual or a couple.

We've fielded a number of questions about the risks related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition that affect female fertility and overall health. Let's go over the nature of PCOS and discuss it in terms of potential miscarriage risk.

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) refers to a hormonal imbalance within women that changes the nature of their menstrual cycle. Given the changes in hormone levels, PCOS can also have an affect on female fertility, the production of insulin, general wellness (e.g., increased chance of diabetes and heart disease), and a woman's appearance. PCOS typically causes women to develop cysts on their ovaries that, while not harmful, may be related to pain in the pelvic region.

PCOS affects between 5 percent to 10 percent of women who are of childbearing age. The exact causes of the condition have yet to be determined, though many medical experts suspect that genetics and family history are major factors with regard to the development of the condition.

Symptoms Associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Common symptoms and signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) include the following:

  • Infrequent or irregular menstrual cycles
  • Infertility
  • Increased growth of facial and body hair
  • Acne
  • Dandruff
  • Oily or greasy skin
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair
  • Sleep apnea
  • Depression

Is There an Increased Risk of Miscarriage Associated with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

Yes.

Whereas the miscarriage rate for women without polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is around 15 percent to 25 percent in some studies, women with PCOS tend to experience a tragic pregnancy loss in 45 percent to 50 percent of instances.

There are obviously a number of different factors that contribute to a miscarriage, but the percentage found in the research is noteworthy and significant.

Fertility Treatment Options for Patients with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

If a woman has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), there are a few things that can be done to keep the condition under control. Still, PCOS itself cannot be cured. Modifications in diet and exercise habits combined with hormone therapy tend to be the most effective options to consider for addressing general wellness issues.

As for fertility treatments that can improve fertility and prevent a potential miscarriage or birth defects, the best option for women with PCOS tends to be a surrogate carrier. A surrogate carrier is a woman who will carry an embryo to term for a couple, often using that couple's genetic makeups (i.e., egg and sperm fertilized through IVF). This is a great option to consider for anyone who has an increased risk of miscarriage due to a medical condition or previous miscarriages.

Tailoring Treatment to Meet Your Needs

Since each patients has different needs, it's of the utmost importance that people who are interested in fertility treatment visit the practice for more information. By discussing these matters with the team at our practice, you will be able to receive all the information you need to make smart and well-informed choices about your fertility treatment needs.

Schedule a Consultation at Houston Fertility Center

If you would like more information about your many options available for starting a family, be sure to contact our fertility treatment center today. The entire team at Houston Fertility Center looks forward to your visit and helping you make the best decisions possible when it comes to starting the family of your dreams.

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