Identifying Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Identifying Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCO

Are your periods irregular?  Are you growing hair in places you know you shouldn’t?  Are you struggling to conceive?  If you answered yes to these questions, you might have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).  PCOS affects an estimated 10% of women. But how do you know if you have it?

Symptoms of PCOS

Many doctors have trouble diagnosing PCOS because many of the symptoms are often attributed to stress or an unhealthy lifestyle.

These symptoms include:

  • Acne
  • Irregular periods
  • Hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face, abdomen, chest, or upper thighs)
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility

Charting to the Rescue

Charting your cycle is a great way to stay attuned to your body’s daily fluctuations.  Here are some patterns you might recognize in your own cycles that could be symptomatic of PCOS.

  • Longer cycles: The typical cycle length is anywhere between 21 to 35 days.  Women with PCOS often report having cycles that last anywhere from 35 to 60 days.  This indicates that ovulation is occurring irregularly, or not at all.  While going months between periods could be PCOS related, it could also be caused by thyroid disease, stress, or an excess of prolactin (the hormone used to make milk after childbirth).
  • Irregular bleeding: Irregular bleeding in non-PCOS cases often means having a heavier flow than usual or bleeding between regular intervals.  But women who go months between cycles may notice brown spotting or bleeding in between their periods that may last for several days.  
  • Prolonged cervical mucus production: PCOS often causes extended periods of cervical mucus.  Cervical mucus is produced by the cervix in response to increased levels of estrogen as the ovary prepares for ovulation.  Typically, women experience this for three to eight days.  Because PCOS often causes fluctuating levels of estrogen, women with PCOS experience more mucus over a longer period of time.  

Remember, a healthy chart doesn’t necessarily mean a clean bill of health.  Whether you observe these patterns in your cycles or not, you should see your gynecologist, especially if you are getting your period less than every two months.

Your Next Step

When you see your gynecologist, they will do a blood test to check your hormone levels and an ultrasound to check that your ovaries aren’t polycystic.  These are small, fluid-filled cysts that form in the ovary when an egg is not regularly released. If left untreated, they can cause heart disease or diabetes.   

There is no cure for PCOS and treatment options are limited.  They include:

  • Lifestyle changes: Taking vitamins, achieving a healthy BMI weight, getting enough sleep—all of these steps can help mitigate the symptoms of PCOS
  • Prescription drugs: If simple lifestyles changes aren’t doing enough to alleviate symptoms, your doctor might prescribe drugs such as Metformin or Clomid to manage your symptoms.  While these drugs are not FDA approved to treat PCOS, they can be helpful in controlling the symptoms.  Make sure you consult with your doctor on which drugs will best suit your needs.

While there is no cure for PCOS, never give up on healing.  Consult your gynecologist on what options are best for you.

Facebook Live Event!

Facebook Live Event!

Hello Everyone!

We are excited to host our 1st Facebook Live Event with a fertility expert on Monday, September 18th at approximately 12:15 PM CT.

Dr. Rob will be answering your questions that we randomly select.

Please post- “What would you like to ask our IVF Expert?”

Doesn’t matter how simple, or how deep, just ask away!

We will go live for about 10-15 minutes, and we will be answering questions that are on the live-chat as well.
To learn more about Dr. Rob Kiltz, click here : Dr. Rob Kiltz, MD

New Treatment Can Eliminate Fibroids Without Affecting Fertility

New Treatment Can Eliminate Fibroids Without Affecting Fertility

pregnancy baby shoes

Thanks to Uterine Fibroid Embolization, or UFE, women with fibroids, which is roughly 35% of women within reproductive age,  have a much better chance at remaining fertile after treating their fibroids.

In the past, the only way to treat fibroids in women was through surgery, where they would simply go in and remove the tumors physically. Now with UFE, women can eliminate fibroids without having to undergo surgery, dramatically increasing their chances of remaining fertile. Essentially, UFE is a treatment that stops blood flow to the fibroids, causing them to stop growing and eventually die.

The treatment is not ideal, however. Since UFE blocks blood flow, there is a chance that there could be less blood flow to the uterus overall, resulting in decreased chances of getting pregnant. In order to solve this problem, Dr. JM Pisco performed a study examining the results of both traditional and “partial” UFE. During partial UFE, only the small arterial branches of the fibroids are blocked, resulting in more blood flow to the uterus compared to traditional UFE.

After the follow-up from the study, Pisco concluded, “Our findings show that UFE is a fertility-restoring procedure in women with uterine fibroids who wish to conceive, and pregnancy following UFE appears to be safe with low morbidity. Women who had been unable to conceive had normal pregnancies after UFE and similar complication rates as the general population in spite of being in a high-risk group.”

How Planned Parenthood Saved My Life

How Planned Parenthood Saved My Life

 

Emily Ferry, an Alaskan native, was 22-years-old when Planned Parenthood saved her life. She had just moved to Alaska, and was balancing being a young adult with a new job in a new city. The transition was hard for her, but that wasn’t the only thing transitioning in her life.

Her stomach had begun to swell alarmingly, so much that others began to congratulate her on her new pregnancy. The only issue? She was not pregnant. With no idea where to turn for quick, easy health care, at a cost she could afford with her entry level salary, she turned to Planned Parenthood.

Like millions of others, Emily received the help she needed, and it ended up saving her life. Planned Parenthood helped recognize right away that Emily’s “pregnancy” was in fact a large tumor engulfing her right ovary. They connected her with the proper care, and a successful surgery lead to her full recovery. Without Planned Parenthood’s speedy, initial care, Emily might not be here today to share her story.

Planned Parenthood is commonly misconstrued to only perform abortions, when in fact abortions represent less than 3% of the overall care they provide. No federal funding goes towards abortions, only towards every day sexual and reproductive help towards women in need across the country. At a time when legislation specifically affects Planned Parenthood’s budget to offer services, please click here to learn more about how you can help –so that women like Emily can thank you for it.

Study Finds New Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

Study Finds New Treatment for Uterine Fibroids

 

A newly published study posted online to the journal Radiology explores a minimally invasive treatment that can help to restore fertility in women who suffer from uterine fibroids.

Uterine fibroids are one of the most common causes of infertility with 1 in every 4 women with fibroids experiencing fertility issues.  The standard treatment of fibroids, abnormal amounts of fiber and muscle tissue found in the wall of the uterus, is the surgical removal of the fibroids through a procedure called myomectomy.  According the the authors of the study, however, myomectomy is not always possible and can lead to serious health concerns such as hysterectomy.

A new alternative to myomectomy is a less invasive procedure known as Uterine fibroid embolization (UFE).  During UFE, an embolic agent is injected in the the uterine arteries in order to block the blood supply to the uterus fibroids.  This allows the uterus to recover as the fibroids shrink and die.

In their study, Dr. João Martins Pisco, M.D., Ph.D. and his colleagues measured the success of partial or conventional UFE in 359 women with uterine fibroids who had previously been unable to conceive.

The study found that in a six-year follow up period, 149 of the 356, of 41.5 percent of the women became pregnant one or more times, with 131 women giving birth to 150 babies.  Dr. Pisco said, “Our findings show that UFE is a fertility-restoring procedure in women with uterine fibroids who wish to conceive, and pregnancy following UFE appears to be safe with low morbidity. Women who had been unable to conceive had normal pregnancies after UFE and similar complication rates as the general population in spite of being in a high-risk group.”

The researchers are continuing their study, with an additional 12 pregnancies reported after the publication of their study.  

One Woman’s Heart-Warming Story and How It Passed a Coverage Bill

One Woman’s Heart-Warming Story and How It Passed a Coverage Bill

 

Her name is Melissa Thompson, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer after the birth of her first daughter, Poppy.

The dilemma she faced involved the future of her family, since her chemotherapy treatments would essentially render her infertile.

So she decided to take on a procedure in which she would preserve her eggs for the chance for another child in the future. However, since her infertility was tied to her cancer treatment, she was forced to pay over $10,000 to store her eggs.

After hearing this, Melissa decided to take action, and she is now responsible for the passing of House Bill 7124.

Check out the full story here.

 

Low Income + High Fertility = Less education

Low Income + High Fertility = Less education

 

As a low income country, Papua New Guinea struggles with providing children with the proper amount of care.

Lack of income is significantly impacting on the health and education of the nation’s children.

“For a lot of low income countries, it takes young adults a long time to really find good jobs and be contributing members to their economies so you have this very large group that is costly” said Andrew Mason, an expert in population, health and economic studies.

He continues, describing  the government must focus on establishing reproductive health programs widely available to anybody who wants them. This includes programs devoted to infant child health, maternal mortality and reproduction services.

Waiting for IVF Treatments

Waiting for IVF Treatments

One of the biggest factors playing into fertility is the woman’s age which is often overlooked. Women who get pregnant in their 50’s or early 60’s are likely freezing their eggs or getting donor eggs from a woman in her 20’s. IVF works amazingly for many women but sadly, not all. IVF won’t correct your fertility if you’ve lost it from waiting too long to try to conceive. IVF is a medical treatment that many women need to wait to have but still won’t get public treatment. Read more about it here.

Could a Federal Law be hurting IVF?

Could a Federal Law be hurting IVF?

 

In 1992 a law was passed by Congress that introduced a new metric for health care clinics known as success rates. These success were awarded to clinics around the nation and acted as a grading scale on how well a clinic performed.

However over the years it’s come to the attention of many that clinics are essentially cheating to score higher on this scale.

When in the market for a IVF, it’s pretty obvious why a couple would want a clinic with a higher grade. With the procedure costing upwards of $20,000 couples want to make sure that they are getting their money’s worth.

In order to show up higher on the grading scale, clinics have been performing dishonest or risky procedures in order to retain their ratings. This has lead to false success rates, which could place clients in harms way, and drive poor practices.

Is there a solution? To the success rate issue? Here are a few suggestions.

1. Allow for public records

Right now the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)  is mandated by  Federal Law to collect records of cycles, premature births, and other serious complications. However this information doesn’t affect the score of the clinic (due to scare of miss reporting) and it isn’t available to the public (for privacy reasons).

A way for new clients to understand the clinics work history would be releasing these records without the names of the couple. This way the public can see patterns linked to complications in the birthing process while maintaining anominity.

2. Include IVF Insurance

Although infertility is recognized as a disease by the World Health Organization it is not covered through most providers in the United States. This is causing infertile couples to rack up medical bills and they are more likely to try more risky procedures to ensure fertilization.

It’s important to note that this was an issue in various European countries, and was eradicated when insurance companies started covering IVF.  

3. Create a Fertilization Agency

Create an organization, just like the United Kingdom did (the home of IVF), to work alongside the Department of Health to keep track and closely regulate clinics by issuing licenses and regular inspections.

 

10 Surprising Factors Affecting Your Fertility: Part 2

10 Surprising Factors Affecting Your Fertility: Part 2

A number of studies have shown some surprising correlations between fertility rates and other factors. Read on for five things that may be affecting your fertility. Looking for more? Check out yesterday’s article for part 1.
Excessive Drinking- Most women know not to drink while pregnant, but did you know that excessive drinking can also affect your ability to conceive? Numerous studies have shown increased rates of infertility in both men and women who consume even one serving of alcohol per day.
Heavy Lifting- Crossfit may be a great workout, but you may want to have some help on the heavy lifting if you are trying to conceive. Studies have found that excessive stress on the body from heavy lifting like that done on difficult manual jobs or with repetitive physical exertion decreases a women’s egg production and quality.
Having your Tonsil or Appendix Removed – A 15-year study found that women who had either their tonsils or appendix removed increased their chance of having a pregnancy by nearly 50%. Doctors believe both surgeries have a positive effect on a woman’s immune system, which increases their chance of pregnancy.
Too Many Free Kisses- A specific herpes virus only transferable through saliva may be causing unexplained infertility. A study by the University of Ferrara in Italy found that 43% of the women in a study for unexplained fertility all had herpes HHV-6A.
Sleepy Men-Men who sleep too little or too much can have a negative impact on their sperm. Men should follow the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to maximize the number and quality of their sperm.