There are a number of treatment options available for women with PCOS who are trying to fall pregnant. These medical interventions are prescribed according to the severity of each case. With the right medication most women are able to conceive despite having PCOS
What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance known to affect women of reproductive age. PCOS causes unpredictable ovulation which disrupts the release of the egg for fertilization. Without regular ovulation conception is impossible.
It is essential that women are diagnosed early in order to manage their symptoms and improve their fertility.
Below we list some of the most common medical interventions offered to women suffering from this condition.
PCOS treatments generally start with oral medications. Patients may be instructed to take a combination of oral medications to improve fertility and control PCOS symptoms.
Contraceptive pill – Irregular periods are one of the leading symptoms of PCOS and the primary cause of reproductive dysfunction. For this reason the contraceptive pill may be recommended to regulate the patient’s menstrual cycle.
Progestogen Tablets – Progestogen can also be used to induce regular periods and to reduce the long term effects of irregular cycles on the womb lining. This is important as irregular periods are known to increase the risk of endometrial cancer.
Clomifene – Clomifene is one of the first medications recommended for the treatment of infertility as it promotes ovulation.
Metformin – Metformin is also well known for its use in stimulating ovulation. In addition, Metformin can be used to lower insulin and blood sugar levels, symptoms that are closely linked to PCOS.
If the first line of therapy is unsuccessful patients may be prompted to pursue a more invasive approach to treating their PCOS.
Gonadotropin injections – For example Gonadtropin are hormones that may be recommended for ovarian stimulation in women who do not not ovulate regularly. Gonadotropin injections are commonly used during IVF and other assisted reproductive procedures.
Surgery is only prescribed in the event that patients do not respond to the initial course of medical interventions.
Laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) – This is a minor surgical procedure in which very small holes are made in the ovaries in order to lower the amount of testosterone in the ovarian wall. Women with PCOS often have high levels of testosterone in their ovaries which leads to irregular periods and other abnormal bodily functions.
Every medical treatment comes with its own set of side effects and risks and patients need to thoroughly discuss treatment options before committing to a course of action.
Join our Fertility Talks this September
Do you want to learn more about how PCOS is linked to infertility? Fertility Solutions will be hosting a series of Fertility Talks that will focus on the topic of PCOS to highlight September as PCOS awareness month. We will be discussing some critical issues with fertility specialists from various Fertility Clinics in South Africa. Listener’s will also have the opportunity to ask questions relating to infertility and PCOS. You can tune into our sessions on Instagram and Facebook throughout the month.
By Cindy Harker