Many women who visit our Dallas fertility doctors have a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This common condition affects about 10 million women worldwide, and it is one of the most common causes of infertility. If you’re struggling to conceive, you may have this syndrome. Here’s a look at the signs and symptoms of PCOS.
What hormones are involved in PCOS?
Three hormones are affected by polycystic ovary syndrome. These include androgens, insulin and progesterone. Our Dallas fertility doctors explain how these hormones play a role in PCOS.
- Androgens. Although all women make androgens, also called male hormones, women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of them. Excess androgens can cause acne, irregular periods and unwanted hair growth.
- Insulin. Insulin helps the body absorb glucose, but the body of a woman with PCOS isn’t as responsive to insulin as it should be. This can cause high blood glucose levels and increased insulin production, which can lead to excess androgen production.
- Progesterone. A lack of progesterone in PCOS can cause irregular periods.
A look at the symptoms of PCOS
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex condition that presents differently in each woman. Some may develop the syndrome shortly after puberty, but others may not begin to experience the symptoms until early adulthood. Women with PCOS will typically have irregular or absent periods because they don’t ovulate regularly.
Our Dallas fertility doctors know that the symptoms of PCOS can include more than just missed periods. Here’s a look at some of the other symptoms of this common syndrome.
- Ovarian cysts. Some women may develop cysts on their ovaries, but others may not.
- Weight gain. About half of women with PCOS are overweight or struggle with weight.
- Unwanted hair growth. Known as hirsutism, women with PCOS may grow excess hair on the abdomen, arms, back, chest, face, and toes.
- Fatigue. Many women with a PCOS diagnosis report fatigue and low energy.
- Acne. The hormonal imbalances due to PCOS can cause skin problems like acne.
- Mood disorder Women with PCOS are more likely to have anxiety and depression.
- Infertility. PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility because the syndrome causes irregular or absent ovulation. However, fertility treatments can help women with PCOS bring home a healthy baby.
Regardless of whether or not you want to have children, our Dallas fertility doctors can provide treatment to help you manage the symptoms of PCOS. For women who do not want to conceive right now, physicians often recommend birth control pills. As for women who want to become mothers, our fertility doctors will often recommend lifestyle changes like weight loss and medications to induce ovulation.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of PCOS, our Dallas fertility doctors can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a caring and experienced reproductive endocrinologist.