Infertility Treatment Articles: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition characterized by high levels of androgen hormones, missed or irregular periods, and multiple cysts on the ovaries. Researchers estimate 1 in 10 women have PCOS, although many are unaware they have it. Because of the confusing nature of the disease and the extensive list of symptoms, coping with PCOS poses a significant emotional and physical challenge.
While researchers have been aware of polycystic ovary syndrome for over 75 years, the exact causes are unknown. Some scientists suspect genes to be the cause. Often women who have PCOS will also have a sister or mother with the disease. Another theory is based around insulin. Women whose bodies have difficulty utilizing insulin end up with higher than normal levels of insulin in their system. Excess insulin increases the production of androgens, male hormones, which may lead to acne, facial hair growth, weight problems, and cysts on the ovaries. Other symptoms may include male pattern baldness, oily skin or dandruff, high blood pressure and cholesterol, infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and sleep apnea. Many women also experience bouts of depression related to their appearance or inability to conceive.
PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. Clinical studies show approximately 70% of infertile women with an ovulation problem have PCOS. High levels of insulin stimulate the ovaries to produce testosterone. This excess testosterone can prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg, resulting in irregular menstrual cycle. Irregular and missed cycles reduce the chances of conception. Once pregnancy is achieved, it can cause complications during pregnancy which may lead to miscarriage or premature delivery. Incidence of miscarriage may be as high as 50%, or 35% higher than the national average. The theory is that high insulin levels result in an irregular blood clotting around the uterine lining which compromises the flow of nutrients and release of wastes between the placenta and the fetus.
Unfortunately there is no cure of the disease; however the symptoms are largely treatable by adjustments in lifestyle and medications. Some medications used during infertility treatment, such as metformin, can help normalize insulin levels and reduce the symptoms experienced. Losing weight may also help reduce symptoms. Oral contraceptive pills, such as can be taken to help regulate periods and cut down on the unwanted hair growth. Treatment plans must be customized, as each woman will experience varying levels of the symptoms.
Researchers are seeking women ages 12 and up to join in studies related to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome all across America. More information about these studies, ranging from genetics, to diabetes, to reproduction, can be found online at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
About the Author: Eric Daiter has been sponsored by The NJ Center for Reproductive Medicine, a leading provider of infertility treatment, to write information about chronic pelvic pain. For more information, please visit www.infertilitytutorials.com
Labels: androgen, chronic pelvic pain, female facial hair, hormone, Infertility treatment, irregular periods, miscarriages, missed periods, ovary syndrome, ovulation problem, PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome