Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder caused by an imbalance of reproductive hormones. PCOS can result in a range of symptoms, including irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, and severe acne. Symptoms typically appear shortly after puberty and the condition can affect your ability to become pregnant. Dr. Bruce Albrecht founded the Life Program for PCOS at Denver Fertility Albrecht Women’s Care to provide comprehensive support for women with PCOS throughout all phases of their lives. At our Lone Tree, Englewood, CO, Dr. Albrecht and his associate, Dr. Dana Ambler, offer PCOS treatment tailored to meet the unique needs of these patients from puberty through menopause.
Causes of PCOS
Your hormones control many of the processes within your body, meaning imbalances can trigger several noticeable changes. Patients with PCOS tend to produce an excessive amount of androgens, also known as the male hormone. Generally, this condition is also associated with high levels of insulin and low levels of progesterone.
Dr. Albrecht founded the Life Program for PCOS, the first of its type in the country, to help women of all ages manage the condition's effects.
Unfortunately, PCOS is not fully understood. While the exact cause is unknown, researchers believe both genetic and environmental factors are involved. Obesity and a family history of PCOS can increase your chance of developing the condition.
Symptoms and Complications
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Severe acne
- Hirsutism, or excessive hair growth on the chin, chest, or other areas
- Weight gain or obesity
- Hair loss or thinning
- Skin tags
- Darkening of the skin
This condition can also cause mood changes, including depression and anxiety, as well as contribute to the development of certain eating disorders. Due to high insulin levels, patients with PCOS are at increased risk for gestational and type 2 diabetes. PCOS can also cause other health complications, such as sleep apnea, endometrial cancer, abnormal cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure.
At this time, there is no definitive cure for PCOS. However, there are certain methods of alleviating uncomfortable symptoms and improving your chances of pregnancy. During your initial appointment with Dr. Albrecht or Dr. Ambler, they will perform a comprehensive intake evaluation to determine the optimal treatment for you. Your individualized plan may include:
- Nutritional recommendations, such as supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids
- Birth control pills or progestin therapy to regulate your period
- Spironolactone to block the effects of androgen on the skin
- Eflornithine to minimize the growth of facial hair
Our nutritionist and wellness counselors can help you develop a diet and exercise plan to reduce insulin levels and minimize your risk of certain complications. Many patients find the effectiveness of their fertility treatment increases after a 10 to 15 percent reduction in their body weight. For patients interested in becoming pregnant, we can also offer ovulation induction therapy and other methods to combat infertility.
Life Program for PCOS
Treatment for PCOS varies greatly depending on your age and your goals. In order to assist women struggling with the condition, Dr. Albrecht founded the Life Program for PCOS, one of the first in the country. The goal of our program is to tailor treatment to your specific needs. There are three distinct stages we strive to address throughout the life of a patient with PCOS:
- Post-Puberty: This phase of life is characterized by acne, hirsutism, and heavy bleeding.
- Fertility/Reproductive Years: The irregular cycles experienced by women with PCOS make it difficult to become pregnant.
- Post-Fertility: During this stage of life, the chances of developing diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart disease are higher for patients with PCOS.
When you choose our practice, Drs. Albrecht and Ambler will work carefully to customize a treatment plan for you. We do not refer our PCOS patients to other practices. Instead, we provide lifestyle counseling, hormonal therapy, and other specialized therapies to help manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Personalized and Effective Treatment
If you have been diagnosed or suspect you may have PCOS, our team at Denver Fertility Albrecht Women’s Care can help. With over 45 years of combined experience, Drs. Albrecht and Ambler have the skills and training to treat the condition at every stage of our patients' lives. We can also help women who are struggling with PCOS-related infertility. To learn more about our Life Program for PCOS or the other infertility treatments we offer, contact our office online or call us at (720) 420-1570 today.
Watch Dr. Albrecht and Dr. Ambler speak about PCOS and our approach to treatment.