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Getting Pregnant with PCOS
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects 5-10% of all women and is the leading cause of difficulty in attaining pregnancy. PCOS is characterized by excessive production of hormones called androgens. Androgens are a group of hormones responsible for the development and maintenance of male characteristics. The ovaries normally produce small amounts of androgens, but when production of these hormones is excessive PCOS results. Women with PCOS experience a cluster of symptoms, including ovarian cysts, delayed or irregular menstruation, acne, obesity, insulin resistance and elevated insulin levels, excessive hair growth on face, and/or male-pattern hair loss.
PCOS often results in long and/or irregular menstrual cycles, which makes it difficult for women with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant to determine when ovulation will occur. OvaCue and OvaCue Mobile are used successfully by women with irregular cycles and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). While other fertility monitors predict ovulation based on the attainment of a pre-determined level of a given hormone (either luteinizing hormone, estrogen, or a combination of the two), OvaCue Mobile has no predetermined level set — rather, it interprets each reading in your cycle in relation to your previous readings. OvaCue doesn't look for a specific reading based on statistical averages, it looks for an overall trend in your body's own unique readings. It is truly personal to you. This method of ovulation determination is particularly suitable for women with irregular cycles since a hormonal imbalance may prevent you from reaching a predetermined hormone level prior to ovulation.
Research has shown that women with PCOS often experience multiple follicular stimulation, a condition in which more than one follicle is selected per cycle. As a result, OvaCue readings from women with PCOS reveal multiple Cue Peaks. The graph below provides an example of what the OvaCue readings might look like with PCOS. Notice the Cue Peaks on CD 8, 12, and 17. A vaginal rise occurs a couple days after each Cue Peak which may initially look like possible ovulation. However, after the rise on CD 12 and 17, the vaginal readings do not remain elevated as we expect to see to confirm the switch from estrogen dominance to progesterone dominance. We then see another vaginal rise on CD 22 followed by continued elevated vaginal readings finally indicating successfully ovulation. As you'll notice, color coding was not included in the graph below. The reason for this is that many women with PCOS have irregular cycle lengths, making it hard to give the OvaCue an accurate cycle length in the settings. For women with PCOS, we highly recommend you don't rely solely on the color coding, and also interpret the data and look for the trends you see below.