Fertility Medication vs. Surgery: Examine Your Options before Deciding

Fertility medication may be prescribed to women who have certain fertility issues, including the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a common cause for infertility in women and causes irregular ovulation and an excessive production or male hormones. The causes of this condition are not known and there is no treatment that will definitely cure PCOS. However, there are several treatment options for PCOS. Before you start a course of medication treatment, you may want to consider your other treatment options such as surgery.

Treatment Options for PCOS

PCOS is a condition that involves the presence of several fluid filled cysts on the ovaries. These cysts will facilitate the production of male hormones and may interfere with fertility. Since the causes of PCOS are not clear, there are no treatments that are known to be effective in all cases of PCOS. However, women may respond well to a series of treatments such as:

  • Medication treatment, which can regularize the production of hormones and facilitate ovulation, helping the patient to get pregnant
  • Surgery or ovarian drilling, which involves destroying a small area of the ovary and reducing the production of male hormones
  • Changes in diet involving the reduction of sugars and saturated fats and the introduction of wheat products, fruits, vegetables and lean meats

Fertility Medications

PCOS can interfere with the ovulation of a patient and this can affect her ability to become pregnant. If fertility medication is administered, this can help restore the normal ovulation process and facilitate the occurrence of a pregnancy through natural means.

Medications that are recommended for women with PCOS may include:

  • Clomiphene, Clomid or Serophene, which stimulate the ovaries to produce viable eggs
  • Metformin, which is typically prescribed in conjunction with Clomidespecially if Clomid alone is not effective
  • Gonadotropins, which are injected and are a more expensive type of treatment

These medications will stimulate ovulation and it may happen that several eggs are released at the same time, so if the patient becomes pregnant, she may give birth to twins or triplets.

Surgery for PCOS

Surgery is another alternative for patients with PCOS, but it is typically not the first choice of treatment due to the possible risks or side effects of the procedure (e.g. pelvic adhesions). Fertility doctors typically recommend surgery only infertility medications fail to work.

Ovarian drilling is a procedure that is performed by making incisions on the lower part of the stomach. For esthetic reasons, the procedure may be performed laparoscopically, which means that only two small incisions are required. The ovary affected by cysts will be punctured and in some cases, a small part of the ovary will be destroyed. Following the procedure, the production of male hormones will be reduced.

The surgery has a few risks of causing scars in the reproductive area. The pelvic adhesions are also among the causes of infertility, so ovarian drilling may solve an infertility issue, but can also create a new one.

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