Polycystic ovarian syndrome is an androgen excess disorder that affects between 5 percent and 10 percent of all women. PCOS is a syndrome, not a disease, which means that it is a collection of physical findings and symptoms that suggest a common disorder.
There is good news for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) who have experienced previous intolerance to prescription treatments of insulin resistance. More and more data is surfacing on the ability of natural supplements to regulate endocrine function, and ovulation, in women with PCOS with little to no gastrointestinal side effects.
Women of Hispanic and Latina origin are at greater risk for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that can lead to infertility and other health problems. While people of Hispanic origin appear to have inherited a higher risk for diabetes (which is closely linked to PCOS), it appears that lifestyle is also a risk factor for PCOS.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is often treated with progestin, a synthetic progesterone in birth control pills. Progestin is often used as the first step in fertility treatment for women with PCOS in order to regulate the menstrual cycle, and it can improve other symptoms of PCOS such as acne, male-type hair growth and male pattern hair loss.
Now a new study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research network finds that the hormone appears to decrase the odds of conception and giving birth in women with PCOS. The researchers found that women who skipped progestin treatment before receiving fertility drugs were four times more likely to conceive than were women given progestin.
"These are interesting findings, which are counter to the general thinking that inducing a period with Progestins BEFORE starting ovulation–inducing medications is necessary," says Laurence Jacobs, M.D., a fertility doctor with Fertility Centers of Illinois. "Since progestins are not natural hormones, it is not clear if this negative effect will also apply to the use of ‘natural progesterone’ to induce a period. More studies are needed."
PCOS is a hormonal disorder in which the ovaries, and sometimes the adrenal glands, produce excess amounts of androgens such as testosterone. Women typically have irregular menstrual periods and may have trouble getting pregnant. Often, they are treated with ovulation induction with the fertility drug clomiphene (Clomid), and before they receive ovulation induction, they may be given a single course of progestin in order to stimulate the bleeding that occurs during the monthly menstrual cycle.
September is PCOS Awareness Month, and today the syndrome is understood to be a complex disorder that is characterized by an elevated level of male hormones (androgens) and anovulation. Not all women who are diagnosed witih PCOS have the polycystic ovaries — ovaries with small, immature egg-containing follicles that are called "cysts."
"In the United States, polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common endocrine disorders of women in the reproductive age group, with a prevalence of 4 to 12 percent," says John Payne, M.D., a fertility doctor with Piedmont Reproductive Endocrinology Group (PREG) in South Carolina. "In various European studies, the prevalence of PCOS was 6.5 to 8 percent."
September is PCOS Awareness Month, and women everywhere are speaking out and sharing their experience with PCOS on blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and in support groups. Spreading awareness is important because PCOS is something that is relatively misunderstood in the medical field. From what causes it, to why some women have symptoms that others don’t... it’s a disease that strikes 1 in 10 women, and sometimes they have no genetic tie to it (like myself), while many women do. With it being PCOS Awareness Month, I’ve come to realize that there is a lot that we don’t know about PCOS. However, there is one important thing that we do know and it’s very important for doctors to understand: PCOS does not look the same for everyone.
There is a clear link between weight and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is estimated that 50 to 60 percent of women with PCOS are obese, and more are somewhat overweight. Research shows that in the majority of women high levels of insulin are responsible for weight gain and other aspects of PCOS including infertility. But what does this mean for women with PCOS, especially those who want to become pregnant?