Does Having PCOS Affect My Fertility?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal condition that affects about 5 million women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Due to the hormonal changes of PCOS, you might experience a wide range of symptoms over your entire body: acne, hair loss, irregular periods, and even increased facial hair.

Because a just-right balance of hormones is essential for achieving and sustaining a pregnancy, PCOS can also affect your fertility. If you already know you have PCOS and would like to start a family, it’s important to begin the conversation with one of our dedicated health care professionals at Women’s Health Services as soon as you decide you’re ready for pregnancy.

Our team of OB/GYNs at Women’s Health Services is here to explain how PCOS can affect your fertility and how we can help you when you’re ready to grow your family. 

Understanding PCOS and hormones

If you have PCOS and are struggling to conceive, remember that it’s not impossible, but it’s important to explore how your hormones affect fertility. PCOS affects multiple hormones, especially androgens and insulin. 

PCOS causes higher levels of male hormones called androgens, which can lead to increased facial hair, thinning hair on the top of your head, and increased acne. Women with PCOS also have trouble with the way their bodies use insulin, which can lead to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.

Although hormones must exist in a carefully balanced state in order to achieve pregnancy, there is good news. Hormones are easy to track with a blood test. When you come in for your fertility treatment planning session, one of our OB/GYNs discusses your specific hormone levels. 

How PCOS affects your fertility 

PCOS can affect your ability to get pregnant in several ways, which is why fertility treatment planning is so important. The course of action we suggest during your infertility workup depends on your specific symptoms and hormone levels.

PCOS affects your ability to conceive in the following ways:

Lack of ovulation 

During your menstrual cycle, your body is busy preparing an egg for fertilization, but sometimes PCOS can cause your body to skip ovulation. Without ovulation, there won’t be an egg to fertilize. 

Irregular periods 

Sometimes PCOS doesn’t cause ovulation to stop, but it can cause irregular ovulation. If you have less than eight periods per year, you’re considered to have irregular cycles. Not only are irregular cycles frustrating, but it can be hard to track ovulation so you can time intercourse during your peak fertile times.

Insufficient uterine lining 

Hormones play a pivotal role in egg development and ovulation, but hormones have another job: to prepare the uterine lining to receive the embryo. Without enough progesterone, it can be difficult to sustain a pregnancy.

PCOS care and follow-up appointments

Although it can be frustrating to work through infertility, attending your follow-up appointments ensures that you receive the care you need. At Women’s Health Services, we help manage your symptoms per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) guidelines such as:

At Women’s Health Services, we’re happy to provide comprehensive women’s healthcare services, including PCOS care and fertility treatment planning. If PCOS affecta your fertility, we’re here to guide you with your next steps. Request an appointment at one of our two convenient locations in Arlington, Texas, or try our convenient online booking tool.

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