PCOS, which is short for Polycystic ovarian syndrome, can be an extremely frustrating condition for many women. Some of the symptoms of PCOS can include irregular periods, vaginal bleeding, hair loss, irregular hair growth, acne, insulin resistance, weight gain in the upper body, sleep apnea, chronic pelvic pain, high blood pressure, and infertility. For women who are trying to get pregnant, this can be very disheartening; even if they do manage to conceive, women with PCOS are at an increased risk for miscarriages.
As with many other health concerns, genetics may be an important factor in PCOS. Some research suggests that the female children of a woman with PCOS have somewhere around a 50% chance of developing PCOS themselves. Frequently, a woman who has PCOS will have a mother or a sister who also has PCOS.
Other studies suggest an important link between PCOS and a variety of hormonal changes. These can include:
– Androgens. Androgens are hormones that can cause a variety of problems, such as hair appearing in odd places and acne, and it can also interfere with the process of ovulation.
– Ovarian hormones. The hormones that trigger ovulation are an important part of a woman’s cycle. If these hormones are not at the correct levels, the ovaries will not relapse an egg each month and ovulation will not occur.
– Insulin and blood sugar. Roughly 50% of the women who suffer from PCOS will have difficulty with the way that there body uses insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance causes their blood sugar levels to grow to dangerous levels. IN some instances, this can even lead to diabetes.
The higher levels of glucose and insulin that, for about a third of women, accompany PCOS, may be responsible for a higher miscarriage rate. Some studies suggest that women with PCOS will have a miscarriage rate that is as much as 45% higher than women without PCOS. In addition to problems with glucose and insulin, the late ovulation that sometimes accompanies PCOS can reduce the quality of her eggs, further adding to the chance of miscarriage.
The most effective way for a woman with PCOS to prevent miscarriage is to try to get her hormone levels normalized. This will improve ovulation. In addition, normalizing blood sugar and glucose levels can help to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
While there is no cure for PCOS, there are a variety of treatments that are available for PCOS. Some health care providers will recommend diabetic medications, such as Metformin, to help the patient with PCOS. Also known as Glucophage, this medication impacts the way that insulin regulates glucose, and it also helps to cause a decrease in the production of testosterone. This can help ovulation to return, and can also help to slow down the irregular hair growth. For women who are trying to conceive, Clomid or other fertility medications may be used to help the woman’s ovulatory cycle stabilize. These medications may help control other side effects, as well.