Infertility affects about 10% of all women in the United States, according to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, and the leading cause of female infertility is PCOS.
As a premier fertility center in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, the specialists at Columbia Fertility Associates are dedicated to helping women with PCOS achieve their dreams of pregnancy. Here's information you should know about pregnancy and PCOS.
PCOS causes hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation
Women with PCOS have higher than normal levels of androgens in their body. Androgens are hormones most often associated with male sexual development, but both men and women produce androgens naturally. Healthy adult women produce androgens in the fat cells, adrenal glands, and ovaries, and they are normally converted into estrogens.
In women with PCOS, high androgen levels contribute to many health conditions, such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and high cholesterol, and they also interfere with the development and release of eggs, or ovulation. Infertility in women with PCOS is usually caused by a lack of ovulation.
Lifestyle changes can improve your hormone imbalance
Weight gain is a common symptom of PCOS; unfortunately, weight gain also contributes to hormonal imbalances. For many women, lifestyle changes, such as a low-sugar, low-carbohydrate diet and regular exercise, are enough to shed the excess weight and regulate hormone levels. The doctors at Columbia Fertility Associates can help you find the right diet and exercise program to reduce your PCOS symptoms.
There are medications available to help you ovulate
If you have PCOS and want to get pregnant, you may need medications to ovulate normally. There are several medications currently used to treat infertility in women with PCOS:
- Clomid, which is taken at the beginning of your cycle
- The diabetes drug metformin may also help stimulate ovulation
- In some cases, hormone injections are needed before you successfully ovulate
The specialists at Columbia Fertility Associates have helped hundreds of women with PCOS in the Bethesda, Arlington, and Washington, DC, area conceive and become parents.
Women with PCOS have a higher risk of pregnancy complications
Your need for expert care doesn't end with conception. Women with PCOS miscarry three times more often than other women, and they are at higher risk for gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and pre-term birth. The doctors at Columbia Fertility Associates work closely with women with PCOS to develop a customized pregnancy plan to help you and your baby stay healthy.
If you have PCOS and are trying to conceive, or plan to get pregnant in the future, the doctors and staff at Columbia Fertility Associates would like to work with you to achieve a successful pregnancy. Contact our offices for an appointment, or fill out our online contact form.