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How Does PCOS Affect My Fertility?

One in 10 women are suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Are you one of them? If so, you might be wondering how your PCOS impacts your chances of having a baby. You've come to the right place. 

Fertility specialist, Dr. Houmam Al-Hakeem, is here to help. As a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, he and our compassionate team of care providers at Westover Hills Women’s Health understand the frustrating symptoms and worries caused by PCOS. 

The good news is that PCOS is treatable. The first step is understanding how PCOS affects your fertility and why certain treatments or lifestyle changes can help improve your chances of pregnancy. 

That’s why we’ve created this helpful guide. Read on to learn what you need to know about PCOS and your fertility.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a common condition that impacts about five-10% of women. When you have PCOS, your body’s hormones are out of balance, leading you to have more testosterone and less estrogen than you should. 

Women with PCOS usually have irregular periods, abnormal hair growth, acne, and multiple cysts on their ovaries. It also increases your risk for other health conditions, like insulin resistance and diabetes.

How does PCOS affect my fertility?

The hormonal imbalances caused by PCOS are at the root of how PCOS negatively impacts your fertility. Without the correct balance of estrogen and testosterone, women with PCOS often do not ovulate and release an egg each month. 

Without ovulation, periods become irregular. Also, excess testosterone can lead to poor egg quality, insulin resistance, and increase your chances of developing conditions like gestational diabetes, which makes your pregnancy higher risk. 

What’s more? The imbalanced hormones of PCOS can also make it difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight. The excess weight associated with PCOS increases your risk of developing insulin resistance and increases the production of male hormones, further negatively impacting your fertility.

Is it possible to conceive with PCOS?

Although PCOS may make it more difficult to get pregnant, the condition is treatable and many women with PCOS successfully conceive. While it’s not impossible to conceive on your own, most women with PCOS benefit from the help of a fertility specialist, like Dr. Al-Hakeem.

Can PCOS treatments improve my fertility?

Yes! Your fertility treatment is designed for your unique situation and needs. Dr. Al-Hakeem will work with you to create a comprehensive plan designed to give you the best outcome possible. 

Treating PCOS to improve fertility typically begins with lifestyle changes to diet and activity levels to help regulate your hormone levels. Since insulin resistance often occurs with PCOS and causes problems for both ovulation and weight, Dr. Al-Hakeem may prescribe metformin, a medication that can help with high blood sugar.

Depending on where you are in your fertility journey, Dr. Al-Hakeem may recommend additional medical treatments to stimulate ovulation and improve your fertility.

What are the next steps?

If you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and are thinking about starting a family, now is the time to start improving your fertility. Dr. Al-Hakeem specializes in the diagnosis and management of PCOS, and he can improve your symptoms and your chances of conception. 

What are you waiting for? Contact one of our two San Antonio offices today and book an appointment!

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