Overcoming PCOS for fertility

Achieving pregnancy can be very frustrating for PCOS patients.

by MaryAnn Shostek — 

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a complex disorder in which patients experience few and, in extreme cases, no menstrual periods. This is due to the fact that the menstrual cycle is out of order and the patient is not ovulating.

This often is accompanied by hormone irregularities, including increased androgen (testosterone) levels and insulin resistance (prediabetes). Some patients may also have excessive hair growth on the upper lip, chin or arms, as well as abdominal obesity. On a pelvic ultrasound, ovaries often show multiple small follicles surrounding the ovary in a “string of pearls” arrangement.

Achieving pregnancy can be very frustrating for PCOS patients. If ovulation does not occur, no viable egg is available to be fertilized. If ovulation is few and far between, it is difficult to track fertile times and predict the best time to attempt pregnancy. The challenge then is changing or overriding the patient’s biology in order to enable the ovaries to ovulate.

If the patient is overweight or obese, first line therapy should include diet and exercise. In many cases, just losing 20 or more pounds can help regulate menstrual cycles. Patients with insulin resistance may benefit from medication such as Metformin to help overcome this condition, as well as to help lose weight.

Conventional fertility treatment includes the medication Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid). This is an oral pill that is taken for five days of the menstrual cycle to induce ovulation. As with most medications, certain risks exist. Therefore, this is only done under close monitoring by a physician.

Alternative treatment options include biphasic tinctures, acupuncture, herbal supplements and massage. These alternative treatments help treat the cause of the imbalance in the body, thus combating PCOS and any fertility challenge.

Biphasic tinctures help regulate the menstrual cycle; herbal supplements, acupuncture and massage therapy help treat the stress on the body and bring balance to the many bodily systems. Acupuncture, in conjunction with other more conventional fertility treatments, can increase their success rate.

When you are ready to start a family, consult with your provider about your PCOS symptoms and decide together which type of treatment or therapy is right for you. With proper guidance, you can overcome PCOS and become pregnant.


MaryAnn Shostek, PA-C, works alongside Dr. Brass-Jones, OB/GYN, at the Center for True Harmony in Mesa, Ariz. Her specialty is working with PCOS. or 480-539-6646.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 3, June/July 2012.

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