Miscarriage And The Woman With PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects between six to ten percent of American women of childbearing age. A hormonal imbalance causes excessive amounts of male hormones (androgens), particularly testosterone, to be present in a woman's body. This in turn results in irregular menstrual cycles, anovulation, acne, excess facial hair, weight problems, type 2 Diabetes, insulin resistance and infertility.
The Difficulty Of Conception For Women With PCOS
PCOS can be an extremely frustrating condition and for women who are trying to conceive, it can be particularly disheartening. Fertility drugs and IVF have been useful in the conception process for many women with PCOS. Diabetic medications such as Metformin, also known as Glucophage, impact the way insulin regulates glucose and causes a decrease in the production of testosterone. This helps ovulation to return and Clomid or other fertility drugs can help with ovulatory stabilization.
Once the stress of conception is over and a woman with PCOS is pregnant, the next months will be her primary focus. It is possible for a PCOS pregnancy to go to term without major complications. Whether it will depends upon the severity of the condition, the woman's state of health and the treatment received during pregnancy.
Health Risks During Pregnancy And The Risk of Miscarriage
Medical experts say there is an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), preeclampsia and blood clotting disorders for women with PCOS who become pregnant. Also, pregnant PCOS sufferers are also more likely to experience miscarriage, pre-term birth or have over-size babies. The miscarriage rate among PCOS pregnancies is between 45 and 50 percent as compared to 15 to 25 percent in the general population. The exact cause of a miscarriage may be difficult to diagnose since there may be contributing factors such as genetics or other abnormalities. Researchers are investigating major contributing factors from hormone abnormalities, including insulin resistance.
Hormonal Imbalances May Be The Prime Suspects In Miscarriage
Researchers have observed that women who have PCOS caused by insulin resistance have higher risk for miscarriage than those without the condition. High insulin levels may result in increased blood clotting in the uterus, leading to placental insufficiency, which is the failure of the placenta to get nutrients to the baby and remove toxic wastes. The result is miscarriage.
Other studies find links between miscarriage and raised levels of luteinizing hormone, a hormone that stimulates ovulation. Still other findings indicate the high levels of androgens may be contributors to miscarriage in women with PCOS. Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center found that there were very low concentrations of two critical proteins in the uterine lining of pregnant women who have PCOS. These proteins are secreted during pregnancy by the uterine lining and they play an important role in the implantation of the embryo and sustaining pregnancy.
While there are no hard and fast answers to the situation, a woman with PCOS who is pregnant can take some steps to improve her health, thus reducing the risk of miscarriage. Proper diet, exercise, stress reduction and stabilizing insulin and glucose levels may increase the possibilities of a full-term pregnancy.