Fertility Consultant explains “the most common and manageable cause of infertility”
September is PCOS Awareness Month.
This week on HerFamily, Fertility Consultant Dr Bart Kuczera from Beacon CARE Fertility answers the most common questions regarding PCOS.
Victoria Beckham and Jools Oliver have openly discussed their experiences with PCOS. But what exactly is it and how does it affect fertility?
And what are, as Kuczera describes, “the most common and manageable cause of infertility”?
To begin with can you explain what PCOS is?
"PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome ) is a condition that disrupts the ovulation and menstruation process. The leading symptom is infrequent menstruation and in some cases, the woman does not ovulate at all.
What Causes PCOS?
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, it is thought to be linked to irregular hormone levels in the body, especially luteinizing hormone (LH), testosterone, insulin and AMH, to name a few. The role of genetics is open to further discussion and studies."
How exactly does PCOS affect fertility?
"The condition prevents the development of the ovarian follicle and inhibits ovulation.
Polycystic ovaries contain an excess number of follicles compared to non-polycystic ovaries. Each of the follicles contributes to the severity of the condition by producing hormones."
How common is PCOS in women and how is it diagnosed?
"PCOS affects up to ten per cent of women of childbearing age.
It is the most common cause of infertility and the most manageable.
A set of blood tests, an ovarian ultrasound and a review of your symptoms are typically taken into account when diagnosing PCOS."
Once it has been diagnosed how is PCOS managed?
"There is currently no known cure for PCOS, but the condition can be managed based on the need and circumstances (i.e. for fertility reasons or general health reasons).
A change of diet, body weight regulation and lifestyle adjustments may be recommended by your doctor to manage PCOS. Medication to restore ovulation may also be prescribed."
And lastly, a lot of our readers are parents or actively trying to conceive and I know they will want to know, can you get pregnant if you have PCOS?
"Yes, you can. Early diagnosis and proper management of the condition can help for both fertility and general health.
A spontaneous pregnancy is also possible but unpredictable. For example, I had a consultation with a patient seeking treatment for PCOS as she hadn’t had a period in over a year. During our investigations, we discovered that she was actually 6 weeks pregnant."