Related Conditions

Although related conditions, or side effects, of PCOS vary from woman to woman, many of them are life-threatening and need to be addressed and controlled. The hormone imbalances caused by Insulin Resistance and PCOS predisposes women to many health risks including, but not limited to:

  • 70% higher chance of developing high cholesterol and high triglycerides
  • Ten times greater chance of heart attack and stroke
  • Three times higher rates of endometrial cancer
  • Higher risk of diabetes mellitus
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Seven times higher chance of gestational diabetes

 

There are also these PCOS-related factors to consider.

 

Infertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Affecting six to ten percent of women between age twenty and forty, it’s the most common reproductive syndrome for women of child-bearing years. Because women with PCOS often have irregular menstrual cycles (a condition known as oligomenorrhea) or sometimes lack periods at all (called amenorrhea), their lack of egg production compounded by an inhospitable environment in their ovaries which may contain many small cysts, makes achieving pregnancy difficult.  Experts also suspect that elevated hormone, insulin, and glucose levels may interfere with proper egg implantation or egg quality, all of may decrease the chance of conception. 

 

Pregnancy

It is possible to become pregnant if you have PCOS. However, miscarriage rates are higher for women suffering with PCOS—as much as 50% higher. Stabilizing hormones can help with fertility as can medications for promoting ovulation, such as Clomid. It’s important to let your doctor know if you’re trying to become pregnant as not all medication for controlling PCOS symptoms are safe to take during pregnancy. Many women find that, if they get pregnant and deliver a first child, it becomes easier the second time and that their menstrual cycles tend to regulate themselves, after the first pregnancy. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, exercising and following a healthy diet can help alleviate some of your PCOS symptoms. 

 

Miscarriage

While statistics show that 15% of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage within the first twelve weeks, the rate seems to be about triple that for women with PCOS possibly due to insulin resistance and elevated Plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1). Studies have shown Metformin to reduce insulin levels and Plasminogen Activator inhibitor and therefore decrease the risk of miscarriages. 

 

Lean Women

It’s a common misconception that all women with PCOS are overweight. The truth is about 30%  are normal weight. Some are underweight. And some have normal insulin levels. Because symptoms vary from woman to woman, don’t assume because you’re not overweight that you’re not a candidate for PCOS. It’s important to seek diagnosis from a physician familiar with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

 

Metformin

Metformin is used to regulate blood glucose (sugar) levels in patients with insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Metformin:

  • Reduces the amount of glucose produced by your liver which reduces the need for insulin 
  • Reduces the amount of glucose absorbed from food through your intestine. 
  • Makes your tissues more sensitive to insulin so it will work better.
  • Lowers the amount of fats produced by your body.
  • Is pregnancy category B, meaning that animal studies have shown no adverse effects
  • Has fewer side effects in 20% of patients when administered in extended-release XR version or Glumetza version 
  • Has been shown to decrease testosterone, improve ovulation, improve menstrual frequency and increase pregnancy rate 
  • May stimulate weight loss in a certain segments of patients
  • Cannot be taken by women with liver or kidney disease and it must be discontinued for at least forty-eight hours before a hysterosalpingogram test. 
  • Patients on this metformin should avoid alcoholic beverages to reduce complication.
  • The ideal dose of metformin is 2000mg daily.
  • It is essential to avoid carbohydrates at the same time that you take metformin

 

Same-sex Couples (Females)

There is a higher risk of PCOS in homosexual women. One study, for instance, looked at 618 women seeking help with infertility and found that out of 618, 254 were homosexual women and 364 were heterosexual women. After extensive testing, researchers discovered that 32% of the heterosexual women had polycystic ovaries as opposed to 80% of the homosexual women, while 14% of the heterosexual women had full-blown PCOS compared to 38% of the lesbians. 

 

Menopause

The onset of menopause does not necessarily signal the end of PCOS symptoms. Menopause occurs when the female ovaries stop producing eggs.

 

Adolescence

PCOS is a growing problem with adolescent girls who often experience the full range of symptoms older women do, including irregular periods or a complete absence of them. The development of pubic hair before the age of 8 may signal early symptoms of PCOS. Obesity in adolescents can also lead to increased testosterone and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome. During puberty, the increase in Luteinizing hormone secretion may be exaggerated in adolescents with PCOS which can amplify the production of testosterone from their ovaries. Adolescents with PCOS symptoms should be tested like adults in order to control the symptoms early without suffering the future consequences. 

 

Advanced Fertility Center of Texas is a leading fertility clinic headed by Dr. Michael Allon, Dr. Dmitri Dozortsev, and Mary Turner, WHNP who provide quality treatment for our patients in the Houston and College Station, Texas area.

Memorial City Office & IVF Lab: 10901 Katy Freeway | Houston, Texas 77079 | map
Medical Center Office: 7700 S. Main, Suite 310 | Houston, Texas 77030 | map
Cy Fair Office: 11302 Fallbrook Drive, Suite 110 | Houston, Texas 77065 | map
The Woodlands Office: 17198 St. Luke's Way, Suite 410 | The Woodlands, Texas 77384 | map
College Station Office: 1602 Rock Prairie Road, Suite 400 | College Station, Texas 77845 | map
Katy Office: 18400 Katy Fwy, Suite #570 | Houston TX 77094 | map

 

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