There is no easy way to experience a miscarriage. It’s a painful and terrible thing for any couple to go through. While many women have experienced a miscarriage, women who suffer with PCOS have a higher rate of miscarriage, suffering this loss at a rate of 45 to 50 percent as compared to the national rate of 15 to 25 percent for women who do not have the condition.
PCOS and Insulin Resistance-How They Connect
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affects between six to ten percent of American women of childbearing age. It is the number one cause of infertility and if left untreated, can increase the risk of endometrial cancer. Why and how PCOS develops is not entirely clear but most experts do agree that insulin plays a major role. Many women with PCOS have insulin resistance, meaning the process of moving sugar out of the blood is faulty and the pancreas is unable to keep up with the insulin needs of the body. Insulin resistance has been linked to miscarriage in women with diabetes and likewise in those with PCOS.
The woman with PCOS may suffer with any number of symptoms, some of which include irregular periods, vaginal bleeding, hair loss and irregular hair growth, acne, insulin resistance, weight gain in the upper body, chronic pelvic pain, high blood pressure and infertility.
Infertility Is A Common Symptom Of PCOS
For a woman who wishes to become pregnant, the process can be very frustrating. It is most often necessary to use fertility drugs or IVF in order to conceive. Some diabetic medications, such as Metformin (Glucophage), have been used successfully to impact the way insulin regulates glucose and causes a decrease in the production of testosterone. Ovulation is able to return and the use of a fertility drug may help in ovulatory stabilization.
Risks In Pregnancy For A Woman With PCOS
Medical experts say that women with PCOS who become pregnant encounter a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia and blood clotting disorders. They are also more likely to have miscarriage, pre-term births or over-sized babies. The miscarriage rate is high, however, the exact cause of miscarriage may be difficult to pinpoint due to genetics or other abnormalities which may contribute to the situation.
What Happens In The Body To Cause A Miscarriage In Women With PCOS?
There are some studies of miscarriage in women with PCOS which show it may be caused by high levels of insulin.
This results in increased blood clotting in the uterus, which leads to placental insufficiency-failure of the placenta to get nutrients to the baby and remove toxic waste. A miscarriage is the result.
Other studies have found a link between the higher levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), the hormone that stimulates ovulation, and miscarriage. High levels of androgens (male hormones) have also been indicated as possible contributors to miscarriage in women with PCOS.
Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University medical Center discovered very low concentrations of two critical proteins in the uterine lining of pregnant women with PCOS.
These proteins, which are secreted by the uterine lining during pregnancy, play an important role in the implantation of the embryo and sustaining the pregnancy.
There are no concrete answers to this issue, however, proper diet, exercise, stress reduction and stabilizing insulin and glucose levels may increase the possibilities of a full-term pregnancy.