One of the leading causes of infertility is PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome. While it is well known in the fertility community, a recent study shows that women that struggle with PCOS often feel a lack of social support with an often delayed diagnosis. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, nearly half of the 1,385 women surveyed internationally saw three or more healthcare providers before they were diagnosed with PCOS. The diagnostic process took more than two years for a third of the survey respondents. (1)
PCOS occurs when women have hormonal imbalances coupled with insulin resistance that results in irregular periods and lack of ovulation. The syndrome is a combination of issues which may include elevated testosterone levels, excessive hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and / or ovarian cysts. The good news is that once diagnosed, PCOS is treatable. Explains Dr. Stephanie Singleton of The Fertility Center of Charleston, “PCOS is among the leading causes of infertility. Fortunately this fertility issue is one of the easier to treat and the treatment is affordable. Through a medical evaluation, ultrasound and blood work, PCOS can be diagnosed and treatment can begin.”
Waiting more than two years for diagnosis, like many participants in the recent study, can have a serious impact on a couple’s family plan. Dr. Singleton’s advice for couples struggling to conceive is to consider a consult with a fertility specialist. She states, “It is important to highlight conditions like PCOS. This syndrome could be preventing couples from conceiving. At The Fertility Center of Charleston, our goal is to diagnose the problem, treat the patients and help them start a family.” PCOS patients are treated though medication, and are often able to conceive via conservative therapy like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination.
September is designated as National PCOS Awareness Month as PCOS affects more than 5 million women. To learn more, or schedule a consult: https://www.fertilitycharleston.com/contact-us/
Journal of the Endocrine Society, Volume 2, Issue 9, 1 September 2018, Pages 1001–1009, https://doi.org/10.1210/js.2018-00181
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