New Thoughts on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects between 5% and 9% of women in their childbearing years. It can severely compromise ovulation and often makes conception difficult and even impossible. It can also cause a host of undesirable side effects, including weight gain and hirsutism. Little was known about this disease when it was first recorded in the 1930s. Thanks to years of research though, new thoughts on this old disease are now beginnning to arise.
About Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCOS is a disorder affecting a woman's menstrual cycle. It causes a number of cysts to form in and on the surface of the ovaries, preventing regular ovulation, menstruation, and conception. There is no single known cause of PCOS, however, a number of factors may play a role in the condition, including:
- hormonal imbalance
- horomone deficiency
A Disagreed Upon Topic
There has always been a lot of debate about PCOS. For some reason, researchers can't seem to agree upon a single definition for the disorder, or a single cause. This is because PCOS is a syndrome; this means that it is associated with a number of different symptoms, none of which appear in all sufferers. Every woman with PCOS experiences different symptoms, all of which range in severity.
Common symptoms of hair growth, acne, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance appear in only two-third of all sufferers. Classic symptoms of the disease, including irregular periods and anovulation occur in only about 50% of PCOS patients. This can make it very difficult to pin the mystery of PCOS down.
Traditional Treatments for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Based on traditional research into PCOS, common treatments offered to women include:
- the birth control pill
- ovarian wedge resection
- fertility drugs, including clomid
- laparscopic surgery
Many of these treatments made pregnancy impossible for women suffering from PCOS. Even the use of Clomid only helps between 60% and 80% of women achieve ovulation, and far fewer actually conceive. Recently, a new vein of treatment for PCOS has opened up, offering women new hope for pregnancy.
Insulin Resistance and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
In the 1980s, research on the role of insulin resistance in the development of PCOS became widely accepted in the fertility treatment community. It appears that insulin resistance probably contributes to the development of PCOS in some women. In others, insulin resistance is related to obesity and genetic factors, both of which are also linked to PCOS. This research opened up the possiblity for a new treatment for PCOS which could help women struggling with PCOS infertility to become pregnant.
Insulin Sensitizer Therapy
Insulin sensitizer therapy is a relatively new introduction to the treatment lineup for PCOS. However, it has become very well-known despite its short life span. Insulin sensitizer therapy works by allowing the body to respond more normally to insulin secretion. This prevents the pancreas from producing too much insulin, and helps to restore hormonal balance. The three most common insulin sensitizers include:
Who Needs Insulin Sensitizer Therapy?
Insulin sensitizer therapy is not meant for all women suffering from PCOS. If you do not have a problem with insulin resistance or if you only have a mild problem, insulin sensitizer therapy probably will not benefit you. Insulin sensitizer therapy is best suited for those women with PCOS proven to be related to insulin resistance.
How Effective is Insulin Sensitizer Therapy?
Insulin sensitizer therapy ranges in effectiveness. It really depends upon your health and fertility status. Some women begin to ovulate using just insulin sensitizer therapy, while others require fertility drugs, like clomiphene citrate. However, much lower doses of clomiphene citrate are required by women using insulin sensitizer therapy.
Why Use Insulin Sensitizer Therapy?
Insulin sensitizer therapy has proven to be highly effective in restoring ovulation in many PCOS sufferers. In addition to this, insulin sensitizer therapy also helps to prevent complications caused by long-term insulin resistance including:
- gestational diabetes
- cardiovascular disease
- Type II diabetes