At Pacific Fertility Center in Glendale and Los Angeles, CA, we can treat the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) with fertility medications and IVF (in vitro fertilization), so you can achieve a healthy pregnancy. One out of every 10 women of childbearing age is affected by PCOS, often resulting in female factor infertility. This syndrome can impact the regularity of your menstrual cycle and affect your appearance. However, with proper treatment, we can help you manage symptoms so you can start your family and preserve your overall health. Our physicians are committed to providing the highest quality of care and will work with you to determine the best form of treatment for your needs and goals.
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome?
Commonly referred to as PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome is a common health issue among women of childbearing age and is one of the most common causes of infertility. This condition results from a hormonal imbalance. Normally, eggs mature in the ovaries, and one is released each month during ovulation. In patients with PCOS, the egg may not fully develop, or it may not be released within the proper timeframe. PCOS can result in irregular menstrual periods, which can lead to the development of small ovarian cysts or infertility.
With proper diagnosis and treatment, you have a higher chance of conception and healthy pregnancy.
What Causes PCOS?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of PCOS is still relatively unknown, although researchers believe genetic predisposition is a significant factor. Other conditions which likely contribute to the development of PCOS include:
- Excess Levels of Androgens: Usually referred to as “male hormones,” androgens are produced by both men and women, though healthy females only produce small amounts. Women with PCOS have higher levels of androgens. In a healthy female reproductive system, the majority of hormones produced are estrogen (female hormones). Estrogen is responsible for proper ovarian function. Higher levels of androgens can overshadow the estrogen hormones and prevent normal egg development.
- High Insulin Levels: In order to transform food into energy, your body produces insulin. When the cells in your body do not respond appropriately, insulin resistance can occur, which results in higher insulin blood levels. Unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, and obesity can lead to insulin resistance, which is commonly found in women with PCOS. If left untreated, this resistance can result in type 2 diabetes.
During your consultation, our team can perform a thorough evaluation to determine the source of your condition.
Patients with PCOS may experience:
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle: Irregular or infrequent periods can be a sign of PCOS. Alternatively, some women may notice their periods arrive every 21 days or even more often.
- Hirsutism: Affecting nearly 70 percent of women with PCOS, hirsutism occurs when there is excessive hair growth on the face or chin areas.
- Acne: Breakouts on the face, chest, or upper back can indicate PCOS.
- Hair Loss: Thinning hair or hair loss may be a symptom of those affected by PCOS.
- Weight Gain: Difficulty losing weight or weight gain with no obvious cause can indicate a hormone imbalance.
- Darkening of Skin: Women who experience darkened areas of skin in the groin area, underneath the breasts, or along neck creases could be at a higher risk for PCOS.
- Skin Tags: If you notice skin tags, especially in the armpits or on the neck, it could be a sign of PCOS.
It is important to present all symptoms to your doctor to help ensure proper diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there is not yet a cure for PCOS. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, you have a higher chance of conception and healthy pregnancy. Two common methods used to treat PCOS at our practice include:
- Medications: Birth control is often used to treat PCOS in women who do not want to get pregnant. However, for women who are trying to conceive, an estrogen modulator such as Clomid (clomiphene citrate) can induce ovulation in women with PCOS.
- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): If medications are not successful, IVF is an excellent alternative. During treatment, we can collect eggs and sperm from you and your partner and fertilize the egg in our laboratory. We can then implant the embryo into your uterus. IVF offers higher pregnancy rates than medicine alone.
Depending upon your unique goals, we can recommend the best treatment option for you.
Schedule a Consultation Today
If you are experiencing difficulty conceiving or if you show symptoms of PCOS, schedule a consultation at Pacific Fertility Center. It is our goal to help you achieve optimal health and a successful pregnancy. You can call us at (310) 209-7700, or contact us online anytime.