Does Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Cause Infertility?

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can cause infertility.
  • The association between PCOS and type 2 diabetes suggests PCOS diagnoses are likely to increase.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a leading cause of infertility, the predominant reason for lack of ovulation (anovulation) and the most common endocrine condition affecting women of reproductive age.

The fact that up to one in ten women are thought to have the condition, highlights just how prevalent it is. Furthermore, the strong association of PCOS with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, the rates of both of which are continuing to rise, suggests that the incidence of PCOS is likely to increase.

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To be diagnosed with PCOS, according to the Rotterdam Criteria, a female needs to present with two out of the three main clinical symptoms; polycystic ovaries, hyperandrogenism and/or anovulatory cycles. Not all women with PCOS will be infertile and for many who are struggling to conceive, making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, can make a big difference. It has been demonstrated that for women with anovulatory PCOS, a loss of 5% of their body weight was able to restore ovulation. Alternative approaches for restoring fertility in women with PCOS include hormonal therapy, medically induced ovulation (clomiphene citrate is usually the drug of choice), and laparoscopic ovarian drilling.

Read more about causes of female infertility

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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