PCOS Awareness Month: Expert Insights on Fertility Options and Treatments

2023-09-08T12:45:44-06:00September 8th, 2023|

Written by: Dr. Robin Poe-Zeigler, a board certified reproductive endocrinologist at CCRM Fertility of Virginia Beach

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is more than just a hormonal disorder; it’s a health condition that impacts millions of women globally. Despite its prevalence, the awareness, understanding, and management of this condition remain alarmingly low. September, designated as PCOS Awareness Month, provides an invaluable opportunity to educate the public, promote research, and discuss advanced treatment options. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deeper into what PCOS is, its symptoms, its potential impact on fertility, and much more.

What Exactly is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance that affects women predominantly of reproductive age. Although characterized by irregular menstrual cycles and elevated levels of androgens (male hormones), the condition is far more intricate. Women with PCOS may also experience a range of metabolic issues. While the definitive cause remains unidentified, a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors likely contribute to its onset.

The Significance of PCOS Awareness Month

Why does PCOS Awareness Month occur in September? The primary reason is to elevate public understanding and education about this disorder. It is crucial to disseminate accurate information about its symptoms, risks, and available treatments, but also to advocate for research funds and improved healthcare services. By dedicating a whole month to this issue, we are taking a step toward removing the stigma associated with PCOS and fostering an informed conversation around it.

Who is At Risk For PCOS?

Although PCOS can affect any woman of reproductive age, the syndrome often manifests in the late teenage to early 20’s time frame. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include:

  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Excess hair growth on face and body
  • Acne, oily skin, and dandruff
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Skin tags
  • Pelvic pain

PCOS and Fertility

PCOS is a significant factor in female infertility, largely due to irregular ovulation caused by an overproduction of androgens and elevated LH (luteinizing hormone) levels. This hormonal imbalance can lead to a cascade of issues including irregular menstrual cycles, poor egg quality, and increased levels of hormones like testosterone. These complications not only inhibit ovulation but also contribute to insulin resistance, raising the risk for disorders such as gestational diabetes. Contrary to a common misconception, women with PCOS can indeed conceive. While the condition is among the leading causes of infertility, it doesn’t make pregnancy impossible. Rather, it reduces the likelihood of regular ovulation, thereby limiting natural conception opportunities. However, through effective treatment strategies, many women with PCOS have successfully improved their chances of conception, either naturally or with the aid of fertility treatments.

Fertility Treatment Options for PCOS

For women struggling with infertility due to PCOS, various treatment options can help:

  1. Letrozole (Femara): An oral medication often used as the first line of treatment to stimulate ovulation. Previously Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid) was the preferred oral medication, but due to increased adverse side effects, Letrozole is now the preferred medication.
  2. Metformin: Although primarily a treatment for diabetes, it can also enhance insulin sensitivity and encourage ovulation.
  3. Gonadotropins: These hormonal injections can induce ovulation and are typically used when other methods have failed.
  4. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): Recommended for severe cases or when other treatments have not been successful.

Dr. Robin Poe-Zeigler, a distinguished physician at CCRM Fertility of Virginia Beach , has been a transformative force in fertility treatments, contributing to the births of over 4,000 babies. Her extensive experience in managing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) makes her a trusted expert for women grappling with this complex condition. Dr. Poe-Zeigler is deeply committed to offering personalized, cutting-edge care for each patient who walks through her doors. The honor and responsibility of assisting people on their fertility journeys are sentiments she carries into each consultation and treatment plan.

Managing PCOS: Is There a Cure?

Currently, there’s no cure for PCOS. However, symptoms can be effectively managed through a combination of lifestyle adjustments and medical treatments, such as:

  1. Hormonal Birth Control: Regulates menstrual cycles and can reduce symptoms in women not trying to conceive.
  2. Anti-Androgen Medicines: These can help reduce excessive hair growth and acne in women not trying to conceive.
  3. Metformin: Apart from promoting ovulation, it can also regulate glucose metabolism.
  4. Diet and Exercise: A balanced diet and regular exercise can help manage symptoms.

Long-term Implications of PCOS

Without adequate management, PCOS can lead to several long-term health issues, including:

  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Endometrial Cancer


PCOS is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive, individualized approach for effective management. Through awareness-raising initiatives like PCOS Awareness Month, we collectively aim to arm women with the essential information, resources, and treatment options they need for successful condition management. CCRM Fertility stands as one of the industry’s leading pioneers in fertility treatment, research, and science. We offer access to a national network of award-winning physicians, a full suite of fertility services, state-of-the-art technology, and cutting-edge labs. Our commitment to a personalized approach ensures that we recognize and respect everyone’s unique challenges and needs. If you suspect you may have PCOS, consulting with a healthcare provider at CCRM Fertility for a comprehensive diagnosis and tailored treatment plan is crucial. Together, we can navigate the complexities of this condition and work towards optimal health outcomes.

About CCRM

CCRM is one of the industry's leading pioneers in fertility science, research and advancement, offering access to a national network of award-winning physicians, a full suite of fertility services, innovative technology and cutting-edge labs.

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