Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the diagnosis given to women who have a certain variety of hormone imbalances, often but not always associated with the presence of multiple small follicles in the woman ovaries. Raised levels of insulin can increase the levels of androgens (male hormones) a woman produces, which in turn can stop her periods from being regular, with only occasional ovulation. These 2 factors of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can make it hard for a woman with polycystic ovaries to fall pregnant.

Sometimes simple lifestyle measures can help to control the effects of these imbalances, so losing weight (if initially overweight) can increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin, help control the androgens and make the periods regular again. Increasing physical activity, as well as helping with weight loss, can have the same effect. Diets with a high proportion of fibre in the form of vegetables and wholegrain foods can also help control insulin resistance.

If simple lifestyle measures are not sufficient to help with the creation of a pregnancy, then we can look to simple oral supplements. Inositol, for example, can help induce ovulation in some women with polycystic ovaries, and can be tried without medical supervision.

However, if one has tried all of this and not had success then we need to look at fertility treatment to try to create a pregnancy.

The small follicles seen in the ovaries of many women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are very sensitive to fertility medication. This means we have to be very careful in what we prescribe because it can be easy to overdo things. We therefore assess the whole patient to try and work out what would be the best approach in her particular case.

If you think you may be suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or if you have already been diagnosed and you are looking for a baby, contact us.