CALL US AT: (877) 838.BABY


Archive for the ‘PCOS treatment’ tag

September is PCOS Awareness Month

By David Kreiner MD

September 1st, 2015 at 6:09 pm

 

Teal ribbons in September signify PCOS Awareness Month.

PCOS (formally known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)  is the most common hormonal disorder of reproductive age women, occurring in over 7% of women at some point in their lifetime.  It usually develops during the teen years.  Treatment can assist women attempting to conceive, help control the symptoms and prevent long term health problems.

The most common cause of PCOS is glucose intolerance resulting in abnormally high insulin levels.  If a woman does not respond normally to insulin her blood sugar levels rise, triggering the body to produce more insulin.  The insulin stimulates your ovaries to produce male sex hormones called androgens.  Testosterone is a common androgen and is often elevated in women with PCOS.  These androgens block the development and maturation of a woman’s ovarian follicles, preventing ovulation resulting in irregular menses and infertility.  Androgens may also trigger development of acne and extra facial and body hair.  It will increase lipids in the blood.  The elevated blood sugar from insulin resistance can develop into diabetes.

Symptoms may vary but the most common are acne, weight gain, extra hair on the face and body, thinning of hair on the scalp, irregular periods and infertility.

Ovaries develop numerous small follicles that look like cysts hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.  These cysts themselves are not harmful but in response to fertility treatment can result in a condition known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS.

Hyperstimulation syndrome involves ovarian swelling, fluid accumulating in the belly and occasionally around the lungs.  A woman with Hyperstimulation syndrome may become dehydrated increasing her risk of developing blood clots.  Becoming pregnant adds to the stimulation and exacerbates the condition leading many specialists to cancel cycles in which a woman is at high risk of developing Hyperstimulation.  They may also prescribe aspirin to prevent clot formation.

These cysts may lead to many eggs maturing in response to fertility treatment also placing patients at a high risk of developing a high order multiple pregnancy.  Due to this unique risk it may be advantageous to avoid aggressive stimulation of the ovaries unless the eggs are removed as part of an in vitro fertilization procedure.

A diagnosis of PCOS may be made by history and physical examination including an ultrasound of the ovaries.  A glucose tolerance test is most useful to determine the presence of glucose intolerance and diabetes.  Hormone assays will also be helpful in making a differential diagnosis.

Treatment starts with regular exercise and a diet including healthy foods with a controlled carbohydrate intake.  This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.  It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Quitting smoking will help reduce androgen levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.  Birth control pills help regulate periods and reduce excess facial hair and acne.  Laser hair removal has also been used successfully to reduce excess hair.

A diabetes medicine called metformin can help control insulin and blood sugar levels.  This can help lower androgen levels, regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility.  Fertility medications, in particular clomiphene are often needed in addition to metformin to get a woman to ovulate and will assist many women to conceive.

The use of gonadotropin hormone injections without egg removal as performed as part of an IVF procedure may result in Hyperstimulation syndrome and/or multiple pregnancies and therefore one must be extremely cautious in its use.  In vitro fertilization has been very successful and offers a means for a woman with PCOS to conceive without a significant risk for developing a multiple pregnancy especially when associated with a single embryo transfer.   Since IVF is much more successful than insemination or intercourse with gonadotropin stimulation, IVF will reduce the number of potential exposures a patient must have to Hyperstimulation syndrome before conceiving.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS.  If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition.  Ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you with your symptoms.  Remember, PCOS can be annoying, aggravating even depressing but it is fortunately a very treatable disorder.

* * * * * * ** *

Do you suffer from PCOS? Do you have any advice to share for other “cysters”?

 

 

no comments

5 Popular Misconceptions Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By Dr. Joseph Pena

June 22nd, 2015 at 11:23 am

 

via WikipediaCommons pubdomain”]

By Schomynv [CCo


Myth #1 – “If I have irregular periods, I have PCOS”.

Women with irregular menstrual periods are often unaware of the reason for their menstrual irregularity.  Many women are placed on hormonal contraceptives (i.e. birth control pills) by their gynecologist to regulate their menstrual periods and prevent an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus that may lead to cancer if left unchecked.  Some women are told they have PCOS as this is the most common etiology for irregular menstrual periods (4-7% of women of reproductive age, ~60-85% of anovulatory women), while others are not given a specific reason for their irregular menstrual periods.

While there is no universally accepted definition for PCOS, there are a few expert groups which have generated diagnostic criteria.  The Rotterdam Consensus Criteria (2006) requires two of the three signs/symptoms of PCOS (hyperandrogenism, irregular menstrual periods, polycystic-appearing ovaries on pelvic ultrasound) to be present for the diagnosis to be made.  The Androgen Excess Society (2006) requires hyperandrogenism plus one of the other two signs/symptoms (irregular menstrual periods, polycystic-appearing ovaries on pelvic ultrasound).  The hyperandrogenism criteria may be satisfied by either the presence of hirsutism (excessive hair growth) or elevated androgen levels, such as testosterone.  However, both criteria recommend excluding other possible causes of these signs and symptoms.  The differential diagnosis of someone with irregular menstrual periods and/or hirsutism is listed in the table below.

Differential Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
—  Thyroid disease (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism)—  Prolactin/Pituitary disorders

—  Nonclassical congenital adrenal hyperplasia (Nonclassical CAH)

—  Androgen-secreting tumor (ovary, adrenal gland)

—  Exogenous androgens

—  Primary hypothalamic amenorrhea (stress-related, exercise-related, eating disorders, low body weight)

—  Central nervous system tumors/disorders

—  Primary ovarian failure

—  Cushing syndrome

—  Insulin-receptor defects

 

The proper evaluation of a woman with irregular menstrual periods and confirmation of PCOS is important because this affects treatment (e.g. combined hormonal contraceptives for PCOS, thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism, corticosteroid replacement for nonclassical congenital adrenal hyperplasia, surgery for androgen-secreting tumor, etc.), as well as determining future fertility treatment (e.g. clomiphene citrate for PCOS, dopamine agonist for hyperprolactinemia, in vitro fertilization using donor oocytes for ovarian failure, etc.).  Thus, it is important for women to ask their physicians for a diagnosis for their irregular menstrual cycles.

 

Myth #2 – “Regular menstrual periods means I’m ovulating”.

The menstrual bleeding that occurs in a woman with inconsistent or absent ovulation is more likely due to breakthrough bleeding rather than post-ovulation withdrawal bleeding.  Thus, vaginal bleeding cannot be assumed to be an indication of ovulation in these women.

In addition, while many women and some clinicians use a history of regular menstrual cycles as a predictor of normal ovulatory function, ~40% of normally-menstruating women who exhibit hirsutism (excessive hair growth) are, actually, not ovulating and may be classified as having PCOS or other diagnosis associated with hyperandrogenism.

 

Myth #3 – PCOS is an ovarian cystic problem.

PCOS is an endocrine disorder of androgen excess with defined diagnostic criteria as noted above in Myth #1.  The determination of “the polycystic ovary (PCO)” (in contrast to the syndrome, PCOS) is defined in the table below.

Determination of polycystic appearing ovary (PCO)
—  In one or both ovaries, either:—  >12 follicles measuring 2-9mm in diameter

—  Increased ovarian volume > 10 cm3

—  If there is a follicle > 10mm in diameter, scan should be repeated at a time of ovarian quiescence in order to calculate volume/area

—  Presence of one PCO is sufficient for diagnosis

 

From the table above, it can be seen that PCO does not refer to and is very different from clinical ovarian cysts, both physiologic (e.g. corpus luteum) and pathologic (e.g. endometrioma, dermoid tumor), which tend to be larger in size.

The characteristic PCO emerges when a state of anovulation (lack of ovulatory cycles) persists for any length of time.  ~75% of anovulatory women will have PCO.  Since there are many causes of anovulation, there are many causes of PCO (e.g. PCOS, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hyperprolactinemia, hyperandrogenism, type 2 diabetes mellitus, eating disorders, etc.).   PCO is the result of a problem with the normal functioning of the ovaries, and not necessarily from a specific individual cause.

Last but not least, PCO is not necessarily a pathologic abnormality.  Up to 25% of women who menstruate and ovulate normally will demonstrate PCO on ultrasound.

 

Myth #4 – “PCOS does not occur in thin or normal-weight women, or in women without excessive hair growth”.

While obesity and hirsutism (excessive hair growth) are relatively common in women with PCOS, with a prevalence of 20-60% and 30-80%, respectively, there are many women with PCOS with neither feature.  Again, referring to the diagnostic criteria for PCOS (see above in Myth #1), the presence of obesity is not necessary.  Hirsutism is just one manifestation of hyperandrogenism.  The other is biochemical, such as elevated androgen levels in the blood.  Certain ethnic backgrounds (e.g. Asians) may genetically not manifest hirsutism despite elevated androgen levels.  Thus, being thin or of normal weight and showing no signs of excessive hair growth does not necessarily eliminate PCOS as a diagnostic possibility.  Other common (but not necessarily required) features of PCOS are listed in the table below.

FEATURES OF POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME

PREVALENCE

CLINICAL
     Hirsutism (excessive hair growth) 30-80% (depends on ethnicity)
     Acne 15-20%
     Androgenic alopecia 5-10%
     Obesity 20-60%
     Anovulation 90-100% (depending on definition)
     Oligo/amenorrhea (irregular/absent menses) 50-70%
OVARIAN
     Polycystic appearing ovaries 70-80%
BIOCHEMICAL
     ­ LH/FSH 35-95%
     ­ free testosterone 60-80%
     ­ total testosterone 30-50%
     ­ DHEAS 25-70%
METABOLIC
     hyperinsulinemia 25-60%

 

 

Myth #5 – “Irregular menstrual periods due to PCOS is only a problem when trying to conceive.”

Obesity, irregular menstrual periods, and elevated insulin levels are common features of PCOS and significant risk factors for the development of an overgrowth of the lining of the uterus (endometrial hyperplasia), which may lead to cancer, if left unchecked.  It is not surprising then that women with PCOS are at an increased lifetime risk for developing endometrial hyperplasia and cancer of the lining of the uterus.  Thus, it is essential for a woman with PCOS who is currently not interested in conceiving, to discuss with her gynecologist the best option for her to decrease her risk for developing endometrial hyperplasia/cancer.   Options that might be considered include the use of [low-dose combined] hormonal contraceptives (e.g. the pill, transdermal patch, vaginal ring), progesterone-only pill, progestin IUD, and/or withdrawing with progesterone at regular intervals.

Women with PCOS are also thought to be at increased lifetime risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (abnormal cholesterol and other lipids, high blood pressure).  Regular screening for pre-diabetes or diabetes (with a 2-hour glucose tolerance test or fasting glucose level), body mass index, fasting lipid profile, and metabolic syndrome risk factors is essential to possibly help improve mortality and morbidity in such individuals.  Early intervention with lifestyle modification (diet, exercise, weight loss) and pharmacological treatment if needed (e.g. insulin-sensitizing agents, statins) may help to accomplish this.

Thus, PCOS is more than simply a problem of infertility.  It is a condition which should be discussed with one’s physician (gynecologist, primary physician, endocrinologist) even when one is not actively trying to conceive.

 

By Schomynv (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

no comments

September is PCOS Awareness Month

By David Kreiner MD

September 12th, 2014 at 2:30 pm

 

credit: anankkml and free digital photos.net


PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder of reproductive age women, occurring in over 7% of women at some point in their lifetime.  It usually develops during the teen years.  Treatment can assist women attempting to conceive, help control the symptoms and prevent long term health problems.

The most common cause of PCOS is glucose intolerance resulting in abnormally high insulin levels.  If a woman does not respond normally to insulin her blood sugar levels rise, triggering the body to produce more insulin.  The insulin stimulates your ovaries to produce male sex hormones called androgens.  Testosterone is a common androgen and is often elevated in women with PCOS.  These androgens block the development and maturation of a woman’s ovarian follicles, preventing ovulation resulting in irregular menses and infertility.  Androgens may also trigger development of acne and extra facial and body hair.  It will increase lipids in the blood.  The elevated blood sugar from insulin resistance can develop into diabetes.

Symptoms may vary but the most common are acne, weight gain, extra hair on the face and body, thinning of hair on the scalp, irregular periods and infertility.

Ovaries develop numerous small follicles that look like cysts hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.  These cysts themselves are not harmful but in response to fertility treatment can result in a condition known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS.

Hyperstimulation syndrome involves ovarian swelling, fluid accumulating in the belly and occasionally around the lungs.  A woman with Hyperstimulation syndrome may become dehydrated increasing her risk of developing blood clots.  Becoming pregnant adds to the stimulation and exacerbates the condition leading many specialists to cancel cycles in which a woman is at high risk of developing Hyperstimulation.  They may also prescribe aspirin to prevent clot formation.

These cysts may lead to many eggs maturing in response to fertility treatment also placing patients at a high risk of developing a high order multiple pregnancy.  Due to this unique risk it may be advantageous to avoid aggressive stimulation of the ovaries unless the eggs are removed as part of an in vitro fertilization procedure.

A diagnosis of PCOS may be made by history and physical examination including an ultrasound of the ovaries.  A glucose tolerance test is most useful to determine the presence of glucose intolerance and diabetes.  Hormone assays will also be helpful in making a differential diagnosis.

Treatment starts with regular exercise and a diet including healthy foods with a controlled carbohydrate intake.  This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.  It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Quitting smoking will help reduce androgen levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.  Birth control pills help regulate periods and reduce excess facial hair and acne.  Laser hair removal has also been used successfully to reduce excess hair.

A diabetes medicine called metformin can help control insulin and blood sugar levels.  This can help lower androgen levels, regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility.  Fertility medications, in particular clomiphene are often needed in addition to metformin to get a woman to ovulate and will assist many women to conceive.

The use of gonadotropin hormone injections without egg removal as performed as part of an IVF procedure may result in Hyperstimulation syndrome and/or multiple pregnancies and therefore one must be extremely cautious in its use.  In vitro fertilization has been very successful and offers a means for a woman with PCOS to conceive without a significant risk for developing a multiple pregnancy especially when associated with a single embryo transfer.   Since IVF is much more successful than insemination or intercourse with gonadotropin stimulation, IVF will reduce the number of potential exposures a patient must have to Hyperstimulation syndrome before conceiving.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS.  If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition.  Ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you with your symptoms.  Remember, PCOS can be annoying, aggravating even depressing but it is fortunately a very treatable disorder.

* * * * * * ** *

Do you suffer from PCOS? Do you have any advice to share for other “cysters”?

 

 

no comments

September is PCOS Awareness Month

By David Kreiner, MD

September 19th, 2013 at 8:10 pm

image courtesy of arztsamui/free digital photos.com

 

PCOS is the most common hormonal disorder of reproductive age women, occurring in over 7% of women at some point in their lifetime.  It usually develops during the teen years.  Treatment can assist women attempting to conceive, help control the symptoms and prevent long term health problems.

The most common cause of PCOS is glucose intolerance resulting in abnormally high insulin levels.  If a woman does not respond normally to insulin her blood sugar levels rise, triggering the body to produce more insulin.  The insulin stimulates your ovaries to produce male sex hormones called androgens.  Testosterone is a common androgen and is often elevated in women with PCOS.  These androgens block the development and maturation of a woman’s ovarian follicles, preventing ovulation resulting in irregular menses and infertility.  Androgens may also trigger development of acne and extra facial and body hair.  It will increase lipids in the blood.  The elevated blood sugar from insulin resistance can develop into diabetes.

Symptoms may vary but the most common are acne, weight gain, extra hair on the face and body, thinning of hair on the scalp, irregular periods and infertility.

Ovaries develop numerous small follicles that look like cysts hence the name polycystic ovary syndrome.  These cysts themselves are not harmful but in response to fertility treatment can result in a condition known as Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHSS.

Hyperstimulation syndrome involves ovarian swelling, fluid accumulating in the belly and occasionally around the lungs.  A woman with Hyperstimulation syndrome may become dehydrated increasing her risk of developing blood clots.  Becoming pregnant adds to the stimulation and exacerbates the condition leading many specialists to cancel cycles in which a woman is at high risk of developing Hyperstimulation.  They may also prescribe aspirin to prevent clot formation.

These cysts may lead to many eggs maturing in response to fertility treatment also placing patients at a high risk of developing a high order multiple pregnancy.  Due to this unique risk it may be advantageous to avoid aggressive stimulation of the ovaries unless the eggs are removed as part of an in vitro fertilization procedure.

A diagnosis of PCOS may be made by history and physical examination including an ultrasound of the ovaries.  A glucose tolerance test is most useful to determine the presence of glucose intolerance and diabetes.  Hormone assays will also be helpful in making a differential diagnosis.

Treatment starts with regular exercise and a diet including healthy foods with a controlled carbohydrate intake.  This can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes.  It can also help you lose weight if you need to.

Quitting smoking will help reduce androgen levels and reduce the risk for heart disease.  Birth control pills help regulate periods and reduce excess facial hair and acne.  Laser hair removal has also been used successfully to reduce excess hair.

A diabetes medicine called metformin can help control insulin and blood sugar levels.  This can help lower androgen levels, regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility.  Fertility medications, in particular clomiphene are often needed in addition to metformin to get a woman to ovulate and will assist many women to conceive.

The use of gonadotropin hormone injections without egg removal as performed as part of an IVF procedure may result in Hyperstimulation syndrome and/or multiple pregnancies and therefore one must be extremely cautious in its use.  In vitro fertilization has been very successful and offers a means for a woman with PCOS to conceive without a significant risk for developing a multiple pregnancy especially when associated with a single embryo transfer.   Since IVF is much more successful than insemination or intercourse with gonadotropin stimulation, IVF will reduce the number of potential exposures a patient must have to Hyperstimulation syndrome before conceiving.

It can be hard to deal with having PCOS.  If you are feeling sad or depressed, it may help to talk to a counselor or to others who have the condition.  Ask your doctor about support groups and for treatment that can help you with your symptoms.  Remember, PCOS can be annoying, aggravating even depressing but it is fortunately a very treatable disorder.

* * * * * * ** *

Do you suffer from PCOS? Do you have any advice to share for other “cysters”?

 

photo credit: artzsamui/http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100156295

 

 

no comments


The Fertility Daily Blog by Long Island IVF
© Copyright 2010-2012