WellSpan Home

Infertility Treatment for Women With PCOS

Topic Overview

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) do not ovulate regularly. They often have trouble getting pregnant. The medicines clomiphene and letrozole are commonly used to stimulate ovulation. But medicine doesn't work for some women who have PCOS. This is because many body systems are involved in PCOS ovulation problems. Often other treatment can restore balance to the body's metabolism and hormone system, so that ovulation medicine is not needed (or works better if it is used).

  • Before considering medicine to stimulate ovulation, overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome should try to lower their body mass index (BMI) with diet and exercise. Even a modest weight loss may trigger ovulation.
  • If weight loss does not help start ovulation, clomiphene or letrozole are usually tried.
  • If clomiphene does not start ovulation, it may be combined with another medicine, such as metformin. Combining the two treatments may make it more likely that clomiphene will trigger ovulation.
  • Women who do not ovulate with a combination of medicines are sometimes treated with gonadotropins. These are similar to the hormones the body produces to start ovulation. During this type of treatment, a woman must have daily monitoring of egg follicle development to prevent ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The monitoring requires blood tests and ultrasound.

Laparoscopic ovarian surgery or in vitro fertilization (IVF) is sometimes used for women with PCOS who have tried weight loss and medicine, but still are not ovulating. (A surgery sometimes used is ovarian drilling. This involves partial destruction of an ovary, which can trigger ovulation.)footnote 1

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2018). Polycystic ovary syndrome. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 194. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 131(6): e157–e171. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002656. Accessed July 12, 2018.

Credits

Current as ofMay 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Femi Olatunbosun MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×