ZocdocAnswersWhat are the long term effects of PCOS on my body and how will it effect my ability to have children since it can cause problems with many aspects of a womans body including, blood pressure, hormones, sugar levels, and thyroid regulation?

Question

What are the long term effects of PCOS on my body and how will it effect my ability to have children since it can cause problems with many aspects of a womans body including, blood pressure, hormones, sugar levels, and thyroid regulation?

I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome several years ago in my early twenties after having the symptoms for many years off and on. So far, I have not had any problems other than my hormones being "out of whack" and my periods are both very irregular and very heavy. We would like to have children in the future and want to make sure we have all the information possible on how this disease could hinder that.

Answer

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common conditions that otherwise healthy woman can suffer from. As you describe, it leads to an imbalance in circulating body hormones, the most obvious effect of which is that it causes irregular and sometimes heavy menstrual cycles. For many people, polycystic ovarian syndrome also is a major cause of fertility. This is because those "irregular periods" occur because of cycles in which an egg follicle develops but does not get released. Since ovulation is unpredictable, so too is fertility and getting pregnant. Luckily, several things are available to help you out. Sometimes birth control pills can be used to normalize the ovaries' cycle, helping with pregnancy. Also a common diabetes medication, metformin, is often used to encourage ovulation. There are also more advanced techniques available from your OB GYN doctor if these do not work. Maintaining a health weight and exercising frequently are important, as many women with PCOS tend to be overweight or be at risk of becoming overweight. Not only does this increase fertility, but it also protects against other possible long term complications of PCOS, such as developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions later in the course of your life.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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