Sad and worried woman suffering from PCOS

PCOS

Are you struggling with infertility? Are your periods irregular or often missed entirely? You may have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Polycystic ovary syndrome can significantly affect your chances of getting pregnant and can be harmful to your overall physical health.

At Heartland Center in Omaha, NE, our doctors can diagnose your PCOS and get you the medical care you need to start your family.

What Is PCOS?  This syndrome affects
1 in 10 women of childbearing age

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Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal imbalance that can negatively affect a woman's fertility, overall health, and appearance. The name is misleading, however. While some women will have cysts on their ovaries, many with PCOS will not, though the side effects remain the same in both cases.

What Causes PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome is caused by a hormonal imbalance, mostly credited to an overabundance of androgens (male hormones) and inadequate progesterone.

The cause of the imbalance is not always known, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing polycystic ovary syndrome:

  • A family history of the condition
  • A family history of diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Long-term use of certain seizure medications

What Are the Symptoms of PCOS?

Symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome vary from person to person. Our Omaha, NE, doctors are experienced in evaluating your symptoms to determine if PCOS is the cause of your infertility. The most common symptoms are:

Irregular Periods and Infertility

An overabundance of androgens affects your menstrual cycle and the activity inside the ovaries, resulting in abnormal egg development and irregular periods or missed periods. Without a predictable menstrual cycle, conception can be difficult. Cysts on your ovaries due to PCOS can also affect your fertility by interfering with ovulation.

Weight Gain

Men tend to carry their weight in the abdominal area. Since androgens are male hormones, women with PCOS will mostly gain weight in their stomach area as well, which tends to give them an apple shape. A rise in abdominal fat can increase your risk of other more serious health issues.

Hirsutism

An excess of androgens can cause hair growth that appears in a male pattern (hirsutism). Women with PCOS may have coarse, dark hairs in areas where they typically have no hair or have minimal hair, such as the chin and the chest. 

Changes in Appearance

Besides weight gain and abnormal hair growth, an imbalance of hormones can cause other physical symptoms that women can find embarrassing, such as acne, hair thinning, hair loss, darkened skin on the neck or armpits, and skin tags on the neck or armpits.

How PCOS Can Interfere With Conception

Diagram of normal versus a polycystic ovary. Polycystic ovaries have multiple immature follicles that have stopped development
High androgen levels can impede ovulation. Polycystic ovaries can have multiple immature follicles that have stopped development instead of maturing and releasing eggs.

Risks to General Health and Wellness

Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of developing significant mental and physical health problems. Some women develop depression and anxiety from the imbalance of hormones or because of the physical changes to their appearance.

In addition to depression and anxiety, women with PCOS are also at a higher risk of developing:

  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treating the Symptoms

To prescribe a treatment that is appropriate to your condition and pregnancy goals, our doctors will perform a medical history evaluation, pelvic exam, imaging, and blood testing. While there is no cure for PCOS, our Omaha doctors can help you make lifestyle changes and provide medication to treat the symptoms. Fertility drugs such as clomiphene can restore regularity to your ovulation cycle and increase your chances of pregnancy.

Other Treatments for Infertility

If lifestyle changes and medication are unsuccessful, we can also provide ovarian drilling or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to increase your chances of becoming pregnant. During IVF, our doctors can manually extract eggs from your ovaries and combine them with a sperm sample in our laboratory. Once the eggs are fertilized, they will be implanted into the uterus. This method has proven highly successful in achieving pregnancy for patients with PCOS. 

See Why Omaha Chooses Us For Their Fertility Care Needs

1

kimberly jensen

2021

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My experience with Heartland has been fantastic. We are so lucky to have two successful pregnancies. It was always sad to leave the team at Heartland but for the best reasons, we were pregnant! I would and have recommended Heartland to anyone trying to start a family. They are a great support system.

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1

Samuel Sidzyik

2021

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The nurses and doctors are wonderful to work with. Our IVF worked first try. We were lucky and had everyone there being hopeful without also having unrealistic expectations kept us hopeful and grounded. If you have to go here, you are already under quite a bit of stress. It's good to feel like the staff is on your side.

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Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine

Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine

Dr. Stephanie L.F. Gustin, Dr. Elizabeth Constance, and Dr. Elizabeth Weedin are skilled reproductive endocrinologists who offer state-of-the-art fertility treatments. An open and inclusive environment, the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine can address different causes of infertility and help LGBTQ couples build loving families.

Contact our practice online or call us at (402) 717-4200 to schedule a consultation.

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