More and more women are being diagnosed with PCOS (Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome); in fact a third of women have cysts in their ovaries. PCOS is a hormonal imbalance where the ovaries make more androgens, or male hormones that females also produce. The high levels of these hormones affect ovulation. Insulin has also been linked to PCOS because too much insulin increases the production of androgen.
Women who have PCOS often have excess facial hair, acne, weight gain, and irregular periods. Some of the symptoms can include weight gain, especially extra weight around the waist. Women can also develop cysts in the ovaries, which is where it gets its name, and pelvic pain. One of the biggest worries is infertility, especially for those women that have their period only a couple of times a year.
Can I Get Pregnant If I have PCOS?
Absolutely. Just because you have symptoms, does not mean you have PCOS. Tell your doctor if you think you have this and she will do a physical and pelvic exam to check your blood pressure, body mass index, and to see if your ovaries are enlarged or swollen. There are also blood tests to check the androgen hormone and glucose levels in your blood. A vaginal ultrasound may be necessary to see if you have cysts and to check the endometrium or the lining of the womb. Women who have irregular periods have a thicker lining, which is normal.
While there’s no cure for PCOS, there are treatments, especially if you want to become pregnant. Many women are given Clomifene, which is a fertility drug that stimulates ovulation. If you are overweight or obese, Metformin may help because it increases your sensitivity to insulin and your testosterone levels fall. Many women have said to become pregnant in just a couple of months of taking Metformin. This prescription drug is given to diabetics and may cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. You can also get surgery on your ovaries, called laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD), which destroys the tissue on the ovaries producing the testosterone.
A third of women have cysts in their ovaries and in most cases they’re not life threatening. Many women have cysts and they never bother them, while others have constant pelvic pain. The best way to know if you have PCOS is to consult with your doctor.