Category: Health

PCOS and Hormone Infertility

What is PCOS?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the main causes of infertility in women, and is believed to affect approximately 5% of the female population. It is in fact the most common hormonal disorder (hormone infertility) among women of a reproductive age. PCOS is associated with increased levels of insulin in the blood. Insulin regulates blood glucose levels, and is produced by specialized cells within the pancreas. When blood glucose levels rise (eg. after eating), these cells produce insulin to help the body use glucose for energy.

If glucose levels do not respond to normal levels of insulin, the pancreas produces more insulin. An over-production of insulin leads the body to respond by producing high levels of male hormones, or androgens. The elevated androgen levels can sometimes cause excessive facial hair growth, acne, and/or male-pattern hair thinning. There is unfortunately no single test for diagnosing PCOS. It will be diagnosed using blood tests, and checking for all the common symptoms. PCOS can also lead to irregular menstrual periods. If blood glucose levels continue to rise despite increased insulin levels, the person could develop Type 2 diabetes.

PCOS and The Menstrual Cycle

Although PCOS is not completely reversible, there are a number of treatments that can reduce or minimize bothersome symptoms. And women with PCOS are able to lead a normal life without significant complications.

During a women’s normal menstrual cycle, the brain (including the pituitary gland), ovaries, and uterus normally follow a sequence of events which prepare the body for pregnancy – whereby several follicles develop within the ovaries. Each follicle contains an egg. Two hormones, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), are made by the pituitary gland. Two other hormones, progesterone and estrogen, are made by the ovaries.

As the menstrual cycle continues, only one follicle will remain which will produce the egg during ovulation. After the egg has matured, LH levels will surge, causing the egg to burst from the follicle thus causing ovulation. After ovulation, the ovary produces both estrogen and progesterone, which prepare the uterus for possible implantation and pregnancy.

During the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS, multiple follicles may develop (4 to 9 mm in diameter) and accumulate in the ovary, hence the term polycystic ovaries. In short, the hormones are imbalanced, and the follicles are unable to grow to a size that would trigger ovulation; indeed some may later develop into cysts.

PCOS may show up on an ultra sound as a “string of pearls” within the ovary. This “string of pearls” represents the follicles that have not developed. And because ovulation does not occur, progesterone is not produced, which is what causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. Most women are unaware that they have PCOS. Some women may be lucky enough to conceive during an irregular ovulation cycle. Symptoms for PCOS vary with each woman – some women only have an irregular period as a symptom.

What Can You Do – Naturally?

There are several immediate steps that can be taken to begin to address the problem.

Eat a healthy, low GI diet – there are certain components in common foods that can actually make your symptoms worse. Some of these you may be eating every day, unaware that they are contributing to the problem. Your diet is the first place to start if you want to beat PCOS.

Some women can simply treat their PCOS by losing weight, which in turn can help to improve hormone imbalances. Weight loss is one of the simplest, yet most effective, approaches for managing insulin abnormalities, irregular menstrual periods, and other symptoms of PCOS. For example, many overweight women with PCOS who lose 5 to 10 percent of their body weight notice that their periods become more regular. Weight loss can often be achieved with a program of diet and exercise.

Reduce the amount of toxic substances coming into your body, and speed up elimination of the ones that do get in. We are living in a toxic world now, and our bodies are suffering because of it. People who have greater health have several lifestyle factors in common – quality sufficient sleep, a good social exercise regime, and, very crucially, a positive attitude about their health.

What Can You Do – Medically?

Metformin is a drug that improves the body’s ability to absorb insulin. It 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. Clomid or other fertility drugs are often used in the treatment of infertility relating to PCOS.

Clomid blocks estrogen receptors in the brain, so it thinks there are low estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels trigger the body to produce more FSH and LH which signal the body to ovulate.

In Vitro Maturation (IVM) is an option for women with PCOS – where immature eggs are harvested early in a woman’s cycle. The eggs are then matured in a laboratory and afterwards can be used for fertilization. IVM is helpful for women who do not respond to drug therapy.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) harvests the eggs after they are already mature. The eggs are then fertilized and implanted in the woman’s uterus. IVF treatments also include medications that help the eggs develop.

Oral contraceptives (OCs) are the most commonly used treatment for regulating menstrual periods in women with PCOS. They decrease the body’s production of androgens, and anti-androgen drugs (such as spironolactone) decrease the effect of androgens. These treatments can be used in combination to reduce and slow hair growth.

Different Types of Infertility Drugs Treatment

Infertility drugs are the major forms of treatment for infertility. They are prescribed either on their own or in conjunction with other methods of infertility treatments. Infertility drugs are meant to increase the chance of conceiving a baby. They do this by stimulating the body to produce more of needed hormones for conception. Female infertility drugs also help the body to produce better quality eggs. The same drug used on a man will help his body to produce more testosterone. There are many different types of infertility drugs available on the market.

Types of Infertility Drugs

Clomid is one of many infertility drugs and it is normally prescribed for many infertile couples. Clomid is popular because it helps a woman’s body to start to ovulate properly. Clomid stimulates the ovaries to produce mature eggs. This is essential for increasing the success rate of pregnancy. Clomid is well known in the United Kingdom. It is readily available in the United Kingdom as well as in many online United States pharmacies.

Clomid can cause birth defects in unborn children. If you think that you are pregnant, you need to can stop the medication and consult your doctor immediately.

Clomid stimulates the receptors that regulate the production and release of the female hormones, estrogen. There are three hormones that the Clomid are designed to work on. They are the Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH), and the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and the Luteinizing Hormone (LH). These hormones are essential for the proper working of ovulation in the female and are vital for pregnancy to occur. Clomid is very effective in reproducing the effect of low estrogen levels. The brain senses the low estrogen levels and commands the production of the three hormones mentioned. The net effect is the production of mature eggs by the ovaries.

Clomid is also used to treat anovulation, PCOS, and irregular periods in women. The Clomid is usually taken for certain days of the menstrual cycle. The drug may be taken on days 3 to day 7 of the cycle or days 5 to day 9. The starting dosage of Clomid is 50 mg. More than one cycle of the medication before the result is apparent. If there is not effect in the ovulation, the doctor will need to consider increasing the dosage. Six cycles is usually the limit for Clomid. If unsuccessful, the usage of Clomid will need to be discontinued and the patient assessed for other options.

Progesterone

There is a direct linkage between the lack of progesterone and infertility in female. Progesterone is a naturally occurring hormone in female. It is necessary for regular menstrual cycle. Progesterone is created after ovulation. Progesterone is also essential for maintaining the twelve-week-old placenta during pregnancy. The combination of progesterone and infertility treatments is a good aid to pregnancy.

Progesterone is an integral part of in-vitro fertilization. Progesterone and infertility treatments are both required to bring about the fertilization of the egg. Progesterone is prescribed to cause the uterine lining to thicken in preparation for conception. It will make it easier for the fetus a chance to attach to the uterine lining. Thus, progesterone and infertility treatments work together. Progesterone is essential because it increases blood flow to the uterus lining.

Progesterone will cause some side effects such as a bloated feeling, breast tenderness, tiredness, nausea, headaches and experience of mood swings. For user of suppository, there may be additional vaginal discharge. However, the uses of progesterone and infertility treatments are generally safe. If you have any medical history, consult your doctor before using progesterone and infertility treatments.

Hypothyroidism Medication

If you are a female and have low thyroid or hypothyroidism, you will have abnormal ovulation cycles and are most likely overweight as well. You experience fatigue easily and have little drive for physical activities. All these contribute to conception problems. For the male, there can be erectile problems, premature ejaculation, and low testosterone level.

If you have low thyroid function you will be put on thyroid medication to tackle the problem. You can continue the medication if you get pregnant but you will need to watch your medication closely. The medicine will not go affect the placenta or go through mother’s milk to the baby.