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Fertility in patients with PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is defined as the presence of at least two of the following criteria:

  • Typical ultrasound image of the ovaries with many small ovarian follicles
  • Elevated levels of male sex hormones
  • Menstrual cycle disorders with absent or infrequent ovulation

Although the causes have not yet been definitively clarified, hormonal imbalances seem to play a key role in the development of the syndrome. Infertility is a common consequence, as the follicle ripening process is affected and ovulation does not occur.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is one of the most common reasons for not becoming pregnant.

If a patient reports long-term menstrual cycle disorders, and external signs such as overweight, acne or hirsutism support the suspected diagnosis, PCOS can be confirmed with vaginal ultrasound and hormone testing. Therapy depends on the patient’s symptoms.

If pregnancy is desired, various drugs can generally be used to trigger ovulation once the hormone balance has been restored. If pregnancy does not happen, or additional obstacles exist on the man’s side, various options are available for artificial fertilisation.