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PCOS is Not Just an Infertility Problem

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PCOS is not just an infertility problem, according to Laurence Jacobs, M.D. Symptoms may include irregular or absent periods, infrequent ovulation or lack of ovulation, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity or weight gain. In most cases, PCOS is a result of insulin resistance. While there’s no one test to diagnose PCOS, a thorough evaluation can accurately confirm the presence of the disease, says Jacobs, a fertility doctor with Fertility Centers of Illinois. In addition to the symptoms listed above, women with PCOS, are at risk for the following:

  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Endometrial hyperplasia and uterine cancer

Fertility Centers of Illinois has launched PCOS Awareness, a screening program that entails a questionnaire and a vaginal ultrasound and blood work performed on days 2-4 of the menstrual cycle. If irregularities are found, a physical exam and possible adrenal testing will follow.

Treating PCOS can improve overall health and symptoms related to PCOS. A low-carb, good carb diet and exercise will often restore normal ovulation and female hormone production, Jacobs says. "Regular exercise and/or weight loss of 5 to 10 percent can be very beneficial for health and fertility problems, as can use of insulin-sensitizing medications, such as Metformin,"

"For those seeking pregnancy, ovulation inducing medications are often successful in leading to proper ovulation, but don’t always result in a successful pregnancy. Frequently, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) and/or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) may be needed."


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