There are many steps of treatment for PCOS in women. Usually doctors follow stage by stage treatment options.
The most common and the first level of treatment are with – Birth control pills. Contrary to their many benefits, BCP’s bring more problems to those PCOS females who are actively trying to conceive. As a personal suggestion, avoid BCP’s. They will give a lot of side effects, like nausea, weight gain, depression etc. You might think your cycles are regularized using BCP’s, when in fact you no longer get monthly cycles. What you have instead is called “withdrawal bleeding”. It simply means all your reproductive system is shut down by the pill to lessen your PCOS symptoms. Those trying to conceive may not want this to happen. Moreover once you stop the pills, chances are that you may not get a regular cycle for next few months and even if you get one, you may not ovulate. So you are back to square one.
Hence if you are diagnosed with PCOS and are trying to conceive, first and foremost go to your doctor and ask for your blood work to be done. Check for the following hormones especially, FSH, LH, their ratio, prolactin, post prandial blood check or a glucose challenge test, check TSH, T3, T4, FT3 and FT4 and get an ultra sound scan done to evaluate your reproductive organs. These tests are very important and give you a clear understanding about the correct treatment.
The treatment starts with the wonder drug – Metformin (Glucophage). Many PCOS women conceive with this drug alone. If not, the next stage is for a low-cost drug called clomid which helps in ovulation. Many conceive or atleast ovulate with a combination of metformin and clomid. If you have ovulated but haven’t conceived, ask to get your tubes tested for any blockages. This test is called HSG. If you have not ovulated with any dose of clomid, or found that your tubes are not blocked, next you go for hormonal injections alone or together with clomid. From this stage onwards the treatment cost rises steeply. If still unsuccessful, you will go for assisted reproduction techniques , using IUI first and if no conception happens, then to IVF.
Remember there are women who failed many rounds of IVF but then have conceived normally or with simple treatments later. It is always better to be knowledgeable about your treatment options. Don’t just follow your doctor blindly, ask questions, read any available information on PCOS treatment, and most important, get involved in your treatment.