How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?

Approximately 1 in 10 American women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This hormonal imbalance leads to many symptoms, such as weight gain, facial hair, adult acne, and, sometimes, infertility. If you’re having trouble getting pregnant and have PCOS, you don't have to worry. It’s one of the most common problems causing infertility and easily treatable. 

Dr. Donna J. Hagberg here in Cos Cob, Connecticut, can help you understand your PCOS diagnosis and provide treatments to help regulate your hormones and menstrual cycle so you can conceive if—and when—you want. 

We think you’ll find our gynecological practice is unique. Unlike cold, impersonal hospital settings, Dr. Hagberg is well-known for her personalized approach to women’s health and patient-centered care. So, when it comes to PCOS, you can trust her to accurately, compassionately, and respectfully guide you through your treatment options. 

If you have PCOS, here’s what you need to know and how it impacts your fertility. 

PCOS and your hormones

When you have PCOS, your body produces more male hormones, known as androgens, than normal. These hormones help give men their characteristic traits, like the development of their facial hair and their sex organs. 

Usually, your body converts androgens into the female hormone estrogen. When it doesn’t, you may develop more facial hair.

How imbalanced hormones affect ovulation

Having high levels of androgens also interferes with your body’s normal menstrual cycle. It can also make it difficult or even impossible to ovulate. During ovulation, an egg develops and releases, which is an essential component in becoming pregnant. 

When you have PCOS, you have several tiny cysts, or pockets, in your ovaries that can trap an immature egg. If your egg never develops and releases, then it can’t come in contact with sperm. Without fertilization, you can’t get pregnant. 

Treating PCOS

If you have PCOS and aren’t trying to get pregnant, Dr. Hagberg might recommend birth control pills to manage your condition. Both estrogen-only or a combination of estrogen and progesterone medications can help regulate your hormones and your period.

Of course, if you want to get pregnant, birth control pills aren’t an option. In this case, Dr. Hagberg may suggest medications that trigger ovulation. Several options can help at different points during your cycle, and she can prescribe the best ones depending on your unique condition. 

The role your weight plays with PCOS and fertility

You can develop PCOS because of excess weight. Believe it or not, your weight impacts your hormone levels. As a result, if you’re overweight or obese, shedding a few pounds may be all it takes to eliminate your infertility problems. 

Even losing only 10% of your body weight can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant. That’s because this can return to normal levels your hormones, which helps your periods become more regular and predictable. 

Finding relief for PCOS when conservative methods fail

When medication and weight loss don’t do the trick, Dr. Hagberg might recommend taking your PCOS treatment to the next level with more advanced approaches: 

Whether you need a simple, conservative approach or a more involved treatment, your PCOS is likely a solvable issue and shouldn’t keep you from becoming pregnant, if that is your goal. It may take a few additional steps, but under Dr. Hagberg’s expert care, your chances are excellent.

PCOS and pregnancy

Once you become pregnant, your PCOS may require taking a few extra precautions as well. Having a PCOS pregnancy puts you at risk for: 

If you have PCOS or think you may have it and are hoping to become pregnant, don’t worry about infertility. Call us today to schedule an appointment or book online. Dr. Hagberg can put your mind at ease and help get you started on the path toward parenthood. 

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