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Archive for the ‘Polycystic Ovary Syndrome’ 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”?

 

 

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PCOS: The Unwanted Pearl Necklace

By David Kreiner MD, and Tracey Minella

September 6th, 2012 at 7:49 pm

credit: maggiesmith/freedigitalphotos.net

There’s nothing at all sexy about PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. In fact, some women who suffer from PCOS are not only fertility-challenged (by tiny ovarian cysts appearing like a string of pearls on an ovarian sonogram), but may be cursed with any number of other annoyances, including facial hair and acne and extra poundage. How lovely.

Dr. Kreiner, of Long Island IVF explains PCOS, its affect on your ability to conceive, and the way it can be managed:

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?

 

 

no comments

5 Popular Misconceptions Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By Joseph Peña, Md, Facog

June 1st, 2010 at 6:00 pm

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%

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5 Popular Misconceptions Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By Joseph Peña, Md, Facog

June 1st, 2010 at 7:45 am

Today, we are continuing our five part series on popular misconceptions of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

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.

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5 Popular Misconceptions Regarding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

By Joseph Peña, Md, Facog

May 25th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Joseph Peña, MD, FACOG has created a special five part series dispelling many of the common myths around PCOS.

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 mensetrual 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.

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