A leading cause of infertility in women, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) impacts one in 10 women of reproductive age and can negatively impact your health, appearance, and life. However, you can manage PCOS, and minimize your symptoms with proper treatment. If you think you might have PCOS, reach out to Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN at his office in Redding, California. Dr. Van Kirk helps women of all ages suffering from PCOS find treatment and get back to enjoying their lives. To learn more, book an appointment online or by phone today.

request an appointment

What is polycystic ovary syndrome?

PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that’s common in women of childbearing age. The hormonal imbalance interferes with ovulation and can lead to infertility or the development of ovarian cysts. Many women are diagnosed with PCOS in their 20s or 30s, when they have difficulty getting pregnant.

Some common signs of PCOS include:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Male-pattern hair growth on the face, chin, or body
  • Acne
  • Thinning head hair
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility

While it can affect any woman, women who are overweight or have a family history of PCOS are at increased risk.

What causes PCOS?

Several factors are thought to cause PCOS, but the exact cause is still unknown.

High levels of androgens and insulin in your body are linked to PCOS. Androgens are hormones that control the development of male traits, including hair growth and baldness. High androgen levels can interfere with your body’s ovulation process.

Elevated levels of insulin interfere with the way your body processes food and turns it into energy. Many women suffering from PCOS have high insulin levels. Obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and low physical activity can make insulin levels worse.

PCOS is linked to some other health concerns as well, including diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, and sleep apnea. Additionally, women with PCOS may also be at increased risk for depression and anxiety.  

Does PCOS affect my fertility?

It’s possible to get pregnant if you have PCOS, but the condition can cause fertility issues. The hormonal imbalance that causes PCOS interferes with ovulation, or your body’s ability to grow and release eggs. If you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.

Although PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women, the condition is treatable. Medication can help you ovulate, and in vitro fertilization is also an option. Many women with PCOS find that losing weight and maintaining an active lifestyle not only helps manage symptoms of PCOS but also improves fertility.

PCOS can impact your life in many ways. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, come to Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN to find a treatment plan that works for you. Book an appointment online or by phone today to get started.