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Huntington Reproductive Center - Blogs

The HRC Fertility Blog is a resource for patients and those seeking infertility related issues and articles. Check back often or subscribe to this blog as it is changed weekly by the HRC staff.

PCOS Advocacy and Support

Help make PCOS awareness official

September is PCOS Awareness Month, a wonderful opportunity to educate the public about polycystic ovary syndrome, the most common hormonal disorder impacting women. According to the PCOS Awareness Association, PCOS affects seven million women in the United States, more than the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus combined. Though millions of women have this syndrome, public awareness about it is not high and support organizations receive very little funding. As a consequence, it is estimated 50% of women are not diagnosed properly or may not learn they have it until they have problems trying to get pregnant. 

While PCOS Awareness Month has been observed for many years among medical professionals and PCOS advocates, this year one of the leading PCOS advocacy organizations, PCOS Challenge, is taking awareness a step further. PCOS Challenge wants Congress to pass legislation (H. Res. 495) to officially designate September as PCOS Awareness Month. This law recognizes the seriousness of PCOS and the need for further research and treatment options and, potentially, a cure. This is a historic, bipartisan effort.

According to Sasha Ottey, executive director of PCOS Challenge, one of the goals of passing this bill would be to make PCOS a public health priority. Because it affects so many American women during their reproductive years and can have a long-term effect on their overall health, Ottey felt it was time for the discussion of PCOS to be elevated. 

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PCOS and Pregnancy

You've had irregular periods for years. Maybe you've experienced acne, weight gain and excess facial hair. Now you can't get pregnant. But until you started trying to conceive, doctors never put two and two together to confirm you had polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS.

PCOS is the most common form of female infertility. PCOS prevents ovulation by stopping the ovaries from making the hormones needed for an egg to mature. The follicles, however, continue to grow and fill with fluid, eventually become cysts, which we confirm by ultrsound. In addition, the ovaries produce male androgens, like testosterone, instead of progesterone, the female hormone necessary for having a period.

A PCOS diagnosis, however, does not mean you cannot get pregnant. In fact, there are several effective treatment strategies, ranging from relatively simple remedies, such as dietary and lifestyle changes, to medication regimens to undergoing more advanced treatments like in vitro fertilization.

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PCOS by the Numbers

PCOS Awareness

September is designated as PCOS Awareness Month. PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome, is the most common female reproductive disorder. It can start affecting women from around the time they begin to menstruate, but generally subsides around menopause. If left untreated, PCOC can have long-term health repercussions throughout a woman's life.

To give you an overview of the impact of PCOS, here is a rundown of PCOS by the numbers.

Five million, One in Ten and 12 Percent

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Exercise Tips to Improve Wellness

Do this.. Wait, No, do that! There are so many “do’s and don’ts” on exercise and fertility. Here are some general guidelines for you follow; editing out the myths, and simply offering sound information, while you are working on conception.

We are always told ‘everything in moderation” for better health and nutrition. In this case, this holds true.  Your body needs a healthy body fat percentage, to aid the pregnancy. Being excessively overweight, or underweight, will hinder the success of a pregnancy. Work with your doctor to find a healthy range for you using the body mass index. Research shows a range between 18.5 to 24.9 is associated with optimal reproductive function. Harvard studies have shown that 12% the under body mass index guidelines have challenges conceiving, while over 25% of those over the 24.9 range, have difficulties becoming pregnant. While the BMI can only offer a general range, a more specific way of achieving the body fat percentage is having an exercise physiologist or certified personal trainer, perform a skinfold -caliper test.

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COULD IT BE PCOS?

 

COULD IT BE PCOS?

First it is the unexplained weight gain. Followed by an irregular and perhaps painful menstrual period. Then comes unusual facial hair. Many women start to become concerned and frustrated by the changes of their bodies. Finally, a trip to a medical specialist confirms that this is not “usual”. The diagnosis many times is only four letters long- PCOS .

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