Friday, March 5, 2010

PCOS & Infertility

I thought I would share with my readers what I'm up against trying to conceive my second child. And following this information is my stroy....

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Approximately five to ten percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS. Most women with PCOS don’t even know that they have it. In fact, less than twenty-five percent of women with PCOS have actually been diagnosed. Most women do not get a diagnosis until they begin trying to get pregnant. Some of the symptoms of PCOS may be overlooked until a woman starts trying to conceive a baby.

What is PCOS?

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a medical condition that affects women’s menstrual cycles, fertility, hormone levels, and physical appearance. Women with PCOS produce high levels of insulin. Researchers believe that excessive insulin production causes their bodies to respond by producing high levels of male hormones or androgens.

During the first half of a normal menstrual cycle, several follicles will develop. Each follicle contains an egg. As the menstrual cycle continues, only one follicle will remain. This follicle will produce the egg during ovulation. Once the egg has matured, LH levels will surge causing the egg to burst from the follicle. This is when ovulation occurs.

Excess male hormones produced with PCOS affect the production of female hormones necessary for ovulation. A woman with PCOS does not produce enough hormones to cause any of the follicles to mature. They may grow and collect fluid but none become large enough for ovulation. Some of these follicles may develop into cysts. Because ovulation does not occur, progesterone is not produced. Progesterone is what causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. A woman’s cycle will be irregular or absent without progesterone.

Symptoms of PCOS

  • Irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles
  • Infertility
  • Increased hair growth on face, back or chest
  • Multiple cysts on the ovaries
  • Thinning hair
  • Obesity
  • Elevated insulin levels or Type II Diabetes
  • Acne
  • PMS or pelvic pain

PCOS and Ovulation Prediction

Because hormone levels are affected with PCOS, predicting ovulation can be difficult. Women with PCOS usually have an anovulatory BBT chart. If they do ovulate, it may be very difficult to interpret their BBT chart. PCOS may also affect the results of ovulation prediction kits. Ovulation prediction kits work by detecting LH surges. Some women with PCOS have elevated LH hormones making it difficult to use an ovulation prediction kit. The Clear Plan Fertility monitor also informs customers that PCOS adversely affects the performance of the monitor.

PCOS Infertility Treatments

  • – Weight loss can sometimes help to improve hormone imbalances and restore normal menses.
  • – Metformin improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It helps your body to use insulin better so that you do not produce as much insulin to control blood sugar. High insulin levels appear to be what creates the high levels of male hormones. By reducing insulin levels, male hormones also decrease. If Metformin is successful, male hormones will be lower, and ovulation will resume. Metformin is considered safe to use on women who do not have diabetes because it affects insulin levels and does not actually lower blood sugar directly. There are also a few other insulin reducing medications that are used in the treatment of PCOS. You will want to discuss your options with your doctor.
  • Clomid (or other fertility drugs) – Fertility drugs, such as Clomid, are often used in the treatment of PCOS related infertility. Clomid works by blocking estrogen receptors in the brain. With estrogen receptors blocked the brain is tricked into thinking there are low estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels trigger the body to produce more FSH and LH. FSH and LH are what signal the body to ovulate. Clomid is often successful at bringing about ovulation but only thirty to forty percent of the women who do ovulate from Clomid will actually become pregnant. Metformin may also be prescribed in conjunction with Clomid. Other fertility drugs work more directly. Injections of gonadotropins (FSH and LH) work directly to stimulate follicle production and ovulation. These injections require more monitoring than Clomid and are generally used only after other options are tried first.

OK, We been trying to conceive since our daughter Skie was born. She is 5 now. I been diagnosed with PCOS since 2008. When i was diagnosed i was prescribed clomid low dose 25mg, I didnt get pregnant. We lost our insurance that covered infertility treatment. Now we have a different insurance and it dosent cover the clomid. So, i ordered it online from QualityRX. I ordered 100mg- 30 tabs. Enough to keep us trying for 6 months. The clomid didnt arive in time for period this month so i start taking it next month. With my perieods being so far apart some times im not sure when i actualy ovulate. so i will be taking A LOT of OPT's next month. I am overweight. Im only 5ft tall and weigh 200lbs. Im working on getting healthy. Eating better. And have yet to get my but in gear for exercise. I have the Wii Fit and will use that to start with, and since i live in NY im not a big fan of going outside to freeze my but off. so i will start walking again when the weather is warmer (prob. next month) Well, that is my story. Comments are welcome. Someone to talk to would be great. I feel so alone.
Thanks for reading!!!


B Sparkly said...

Happy FF!! I'm a new follower:) Come see me at my blog. keep smiling:)

BluePixo Entertainment said...

Thanks for the follow. We are now following you.

Thank you

mommymommymommy said...

Misty, I can empathize with your story. I had my first after only two months trying, never got pregnant again. We chose adoption to enlarge our family after I just could not take any more of the physical or emotional roller coaster. My DH and I adopted our b/g twins when our oldest was 7.5 years old. They are the light of our lives and keep us VERY BUSY! Funny thing is, my 7 y/o DD looks so much like her older sister, and not like her twtin brother!

Proof to us that they were meant to be ours.

Good luck to you and know that adoption is an option to consider if you tire of trying.

Happy Friday Follow! I am now following. Mine are numbers 166, 167 and 169. Thaks for following me.

Millennium Housewife said...

Not sure what follow friday is but so glad I found you. I'm PCOS too, but have gotten pregnant three times quite quickly although we lost one baby. I had a lot of advice and followed a toxin free diet where I ate little and often and concentrated on keeping my insulin levels as level as possible. I exercise regularly, eat organic and watch my refined carbs (a big deal if due to PCOS you're insulin resistant) it's really worth the sacrifice. we have two gorgeous children of six and three, better than a donut any day!

Marybeth said...

Hi, Misty - I am following from Friday Follow... I have a friend w/ PCOS and it's very emotionally painful for her. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.