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PCOS Myths and Facts | PCOS Information

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which there are many small cysts in the ovaries. These cysts can affect a woman’s fertility because they disturb hormone cycles. Usually women with PCOS have low levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and high levels of androgens (male hormones).

I have PCOS — I am never going to be able to have a baby.
MYTH. Some women with PCOS are able to become pregnant with no assistance. Many more are able to become pregnant with minor assistance and others still with IVF. It depends on the severity of your PCOS and what exactly is going on. Your fertility doctor will work with you to figure out where the problem is. Once your doctor has more information, you can work together to figure out the best ways to help you get pregnant.

I would know if I had PCOS.
MYTH. It would not necessarily be obvious that you have PCOS. Though for some women the symptoms are clear-cut, PCOS is associated with a wide range of sometimes-vague symptoms. It can occasionally take years to reach a diagnosis. And there are a few other rare conditions that have similar symptoms. If you are having trouble becoming pregnant and have any of the symptoms of PCOS, talk to your fertility doctor about doing some tests to explore the possibility of PCOS.

I had an ultrasound and it did not show any cysts on my ovaries, so PCOS cannot be the problem.
MYTH. Some women do not show cysts on their ovaries but have other symptoms that lead to them being diagnosed and treated for PCOS. Other women have cysts on their ovaries but do not have PCOS. The presence of cysts can be an important symptom in identifying PCOS, but it is only part of the picture.

Women whose mother or sister has PCOS are more likely to have PCOS.
FACT. There appears to be a genetic component to PCOS.

All women with PCOS are overweight.
MYTH. Many women with PCOS are overweight, but thin women can have PCOS as well. If you have signs and symptoms of PCOS, you should talk to your fertility doctor about the possibility.

I have PCOS — losing weight can improve my chances of becoming pregnant.
FACT. Losing as little as 5 percent of your body weight can help balance your hormone levels which can help improve your fertility. Because of the way insulin is processed in many women with PCOS, a diet with a low glycemic index may be the most beneficial way to lose weight.

There’s no cure for PCOS.
FACT. But there ARE treatments that can improve your health and fertility. Losing weight is one of the most important things you can do. You may be given clomiphene citrate, which helps you to produce more FSH. If you are also insulin resistant, you may be given a drug called Metformin (or glucophage) that makes you sensitive to insulin and can help return ovulation to normal. Depending on what other symptoms you have, you might be given medication for acne or excess hair growth, too.

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