What is PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)?




As a fertility center, we have the responsibility to raise awareness about a syndrome that affects millions of women. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility. We witness it every day and we fight it every day. It affects your life, your joy, your womanhood, and the ability to conceive naturally.

Also known as the perfect hormonal storm,” PCOS is one of the most common hormonal disorders in women that involves the irregular function of the ovaries. Roughly 1 in 10 women in childbearing age suffers from PCOS, which includes many of our patients. In fact, PCOS is considered to be one of the leading causes of female infertility, which can also affect the body physically and emotionally.

What are the causes of PCOS?

Though the exact cause is unknown, PCOS is a hormonal disbalance. It remains to be proved if high levels of hormones such as testosterone and insulin are a cause or an effect of the condition. It is also believed that Genetics and environmental factors play a major role.

How do I know I have PCOS, is it causing my infertility?

The symptoms of PCOS can manifest in different ways and severity from woman to woman. 

The main three symptoms are:

Irregular periods
– which means your ovaries do not release eggs regularly (ovulation)
Excess androgens
– high levels of male” hormones in your body, which may be measured in the blood or seen through symptoms such as acne or excess facial or body hair growth.
Polycystic ovaries
– seen with ultrasound, your ovaries become enlarged and contain many follicles, which are in fact fluid-filled sacs surrounding the eggs. Despite the name, having polycystic ovaries does not mean you that you have cysts.

Other symptoms of PCOS include, but are not limited to: weight fluctuations, skin tags, dark skin patches, absent or infrequent menstrual periods, androgenic alopecia (hair loss at the scalp), pelvic pain, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglycerides, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and/​or anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia.

Can PCOS affect my IVF chances?

Though one of the most common consequences of PCOS is the difficulty to conceive naturally, it is treatable. We have 10 years of experience helping patients with PCOS. We will be able to explain your individual chances after a first consultation. Usually, women with PCOS have low levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and high levels of androgens (male hormones), which can influence ovulation and make it difficult to conceive, so early diagnosis is important. Women with PCOS may also have higher rates of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and premature delivery.

Can I treat PCOS before having IVF?

The majority of our fertility treatment patients struggle with PCOS. While there is no cure for PCOS, early diagnosis and proper education can help women manage the symptoms, as well as participation in awareness groups. One test alone cannot offer a PCOS diagnosis, and symptoms will vary from woman to woman. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes such as weight loss and exercise. Contact us today for more information.

PFC’s patient Biljana:

After struggling with PCOS all my life, I was able to conceive with the help of Prague Fertility Centre. I went through a lot before deciding to go abroad for treatment. From day one, I felt this was the center for me. They really took the time to review my history and focus on my individual situation. We also had an added male infertility issue. We would recommend PFC to anyone struggling with PCOS, they really have an edge on fertility technology and personal care. ”