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Conceiving When PCOS Is a Factor
Hyacinth Nicole Browne, MD posted:
PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is the most common endocrine disorder that affects reproductive age women. Eight to 10% of reproductive age women have PCOS, and they generally present with irregular menses and/ or infertility because they don't ovulate regularly. Fifty percent of women with PCOS are obese, and it is thought that the high insulin production associated with obesity and subsequent insulin resistance (i.e. decreased ability of the body to take-up and utilize glucose) contributes to the underlying infertility associated with PCOS.

Fertility treatment for women with PCOS is typically a two-pronged approach:

1. Weight loss through changes in diet and exercise can increase insulin sensitivity in obese women with PCOS. Sometimes, losing 5-10% of one's body weight can help women with PCOS ovulate on their own because their insulin sensitivity improves.

2. When weight loss is not enough to induce ovulation in women with PCOS, hormonal stimulation is needed. The first line treatment here is Clomid. Clomid typically induces ovulation in 70-80% of women with PCOS, and there is a 15% chance that women who respond to Clomid will have a live birth.

If you have PCOS and you have been struggling to get pregnant, you should seek assistance from a fertility specialist to talk about ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Sometimes, simple measures such as weight loss are all that is needed to help you conceive.

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