Understanding PCOS and Its Role in Causing Infertility in female

Saikat and Leena (names changed), both in their mid-30’s had been married for the last 4 years but were unsuccessful ever since in conceiving. Then 2 years back they started consultation with our fertility consultants and were under the treatment of GENOME’s renowned reproductive medicine specialists. Both, Saikat and Leena were tensed and clueless when they arrived at our Fertility Centre for the first time. But, upon check-up the doctors found that Leena was suffering from PCOS and after a few other tests the physicians were certain that the root cause of the infertility for the couple was PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. In the case of our patient Leena, PCOS was found to be playing a direct role in blocking her fertility and pregnancy. In fact, on detailed medical examination it was found that she had ‘fibroids’ (an abnormal mass of tissue) in her uterus as a result of PCOS, which had remained undetected for years. As it was asymptomatic or benign, we suggested surgical procedure for removal of the fibroids which the couple consented to. After the successful procedure, a gap of one year of healing and reconditioning was suggested by our fertility specialist, following which Leena went for IVF at GENOME and conceived in the very first cycle of FET or Frozen Embryo Transfer. Now a happy mom, Leena and her husband Saikat is one of our ‘proud parents’.

polycystic ovarian syndrome - genome the fertility centreThis sounds like an inspiring success story, right? In fact, it is just one of the several others that we would be sharing with you in due course. But the crux of the matter is that – PCOS remains as one of the most common causes of female infertility and most often a timely medical intervention (early detection, treatment and counseling) can effectively control PCOS, enabling the person to conceive and enjoy parenthood. Let’s understand what PCOS is and how to get rid of it.

PCOS – Understanding what it is

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a clinical condition that occurs in women whose LH or Luteinizing hormone (a female sex hormone which triggers ovulation) levels secreted from the Pituitary gland are way too high. This leads to imbalance in the levels of other essentially female hormones estrogen and progesterone and may result in hyper-secretion of testosterone (the ubiquitous male hormone). As a result, a number of anomalies occur in affected females which includes – irregular menstrual cycle, excess growth of hair, obesity and acne. But foremost, PCOS results in the growth of benign masses of tissues or cysts in the ovaries which blocks pregnancy, thereby causing infertility. Although, the above reasoning is widely accepted as being the cause of infertility due to PCOS, today experts in reproductive science considers that a combination of both, environmental as well as genetic factors may be responsible for the occurrence of PCOS in females.

At What Age PCOS Can Occur?

Between the ages of 19-40 females are mostly affected by PCOS. However, cases of PCOS has been reported in females as young as 6 years! The usual age to look out for symptoms of PCOS is between 13-16 for early detection and treatment in order to escape any probable future ordeal. On the other hand, women in their 40’s, who wish to conceive through IVF, IUI or other ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) procedures, need to undergo a through medical examination for probable presence of fibroids or cysts in their ovaries, formed as result of PCOS.

How to Treat PCOS?

Seeking early treatment of PCOS is vital for any women as with its prolonged effect on the female reproductive system and its physiology, PCOS can lead to infertility and associated reproductive problems. Having said that, please note that there is no specific cure for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or any wonder drug for that matter. But, definitely, PCOS is controllable. The usual route for dealing with PCOS is through ‘hormone therapy’ that is, balancing the level of estrogen and progesterone in the body of the patient through administration of the deficient hormones by way of medication and recommended diet (and supplements). Surgical procedures, in cases where fibroids or cysts threaten the normal functioning of the ovaries, are also recommended by gynecologists and infertility specialists. Through surgical means (care is taken to opt for minimum invasive procedures) fibroids or cysts are removed and after a period of reconditioning, the body usually heals back to function normally.  

Recent PCOS Stats and the Way Forward

As per a recent report published online – one out of every ten Indian women suffer from PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. About 5-10% of all women in their childbearing age – (20-40) are affected by PCOS. Moreover, recent data on PCOS prevalence indicates that nearly 25% of all Infertility cases are a result of PCOS! Such astounding percentages can only justify the sheer importance of PCOS awareness among girls from an early age and the need to properly diagnose and treat the affected with sheer persistence and eagerness. At Genome –The Fertility Centre we take utmost care of every person who comes in with the hope of getting rid of infertility and related problems. PCOS is quite common occurrence among our patients who are obese. Hence, our reproductive specialists opine that the most important thing in addition to attending a reproductive counselor is “keeping your weight under control.” Obese people are more prone to PCOS, even many have insulin resistance, which further aggravates the condition.

In a nutshell, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can occur in any women and may be the cause of her infertility. But the good news is – PCOS is controllable. Early diagnosis at a reputed fertility center under the watchful guidance of a reproductive specialist increase chances of fast and safe recovery from PCOS. If you have found our article helpful, feel free to share and comment.

For more insightful articles on infertility and fertility related issues stay connected to the GENOME Blog.

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