‘Hormonal disorder causing infertility’

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‘Hormonal disorder causing infertility’

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age and one of the major causes of infertility, is alarmingly high in the Gulf region with 50 per cent of the adult female population afflicted, according to a specialist.


Olivia Olarte-Ulherr

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Published: Mon 23 Jul 2012, 9:39 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 1:43 PM

Compared with the 12-15 per cent in other parts of the world, cases here are “staggeringly” high, said Dr Wafa Khalil, fertility consultant and head of gynaecology at Al Noor Hospital.

In PCOS, mature eggs are not released from the ovaries. Instead, they (immature eggs) can form very small cysts (about 10 in numbers) on the outer edge of each ovary, averaging 5mm. This caused disorder in the natural ovulation process.

Because of the hormone imbalance, women with PCOS have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods, excess hair growth, acne and obesity, cited the Mayo Clinic.

In adolescents, infrequent or absent menstruation may signal the condition. In women past adolescence, difficulty becoming pregnant or unexplained weight gain may be the first sign. According to Dr Khalil, PCOS is usually diagnosed in women between 25-35 years, when the condition has progressed and become obvious.“The easier and reliable diagnosis is through ultrasound and blood test.”

Speaking to Khaleej Times about the condition, Dr Khalil said the environment here -the heat, discouraging people from any physical activity and availability of fast foods- is the major culprit.

“I initially suspected that this is present only among the Emiratis, but then I found out that women from different backgrounds who were born and raised here have the same (predisposition). I reckon it is the environment, the heat, the type of food and the lack of physical activity that’s contributing in the genes,” described the specialist who has been practicing in the UAE and the Gulf region for the past 17 years.

Noting the prevalence of diabetes in the region and the growing numbers of obese and overweight, Dr Khalil expressed his concern.

“PCOS can sometimes later in life show an abnormal diabetic tendency,” he pointed out.

Although the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, early diagnosis and treatment may reduce the risk of long-term complications, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

For infertility, Dr Khalil advised not to wait too long in “going to a specialised physician and centre with proven track record (as) the longer the infertility persists, the less the success rate.”

Al Noor Hospital’s Fertility Clinic has carried out over a thousand In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) procedures with a success rate of between 42-55 per cent “depending on the patient’s age,” with younger patients having more success with the treatment, concluded Dr Khalil.


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