Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a group of symptoms that are linked to problems with your period, infertility, changes in appearance, and increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. 

Some of the symptoms of PCOS are:

Diagnosing PCOS can be challenging as many of the symptoms can overlap with other conditions. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider.

If I plan on getting pregnant, what should I know?

If you are already diagnosed with PCOS, you may have difficulties getting pregnant due to irregular hormone levels (lower levels of luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and follicle stimulating hormone, and higher levels of androgen hormones) and menstrual cycles.

You should consult with your healthcare provider at a preconception visit to discuss strategies to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Some of the strategies your healthcare provider might suggest are:

If you find none of the above strategies work, your healthcare provider may order fertility tests and suggest fertility drugs. Some of these may increase the levels of certain hormones to trigger menstrual cycles and ovulation (release of the egg from the ovary). If fertility treatments do not work, your healthcare provider may consider removing tiny amounts of tissue in the ovaries that may be producing excess androgens (hormones that can stop the ovaries from releasing the egg). 

If none of the above strategies work, your healthcare provider may suggest in vitro fertilization (IVF). You can read more about IVF here.

Fortunately, in combination with healthy lifestyle changes, ovulation monitoring, and/or fertility drugs, many women with PCOS are able to become pregnant. 

Pregnancy with PCOS

If you are pregnant and have PCOS, there are a few things for you to consider and keep in mind:

Fortunately, many of these potential risks and complications can be reduced by taking extra care and monitoring symptoms carefully.

For resources on managing PCOS: