As one of the leading global experts on the topic of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Reproductive Partners’ Dr. Antoni Duleba chaired a session discussing current and emerging treatments of PCOS at the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society’s 13th Annual Meeting, which took place in Sicily, Italy, October 4-6, 2015.

The Androgen Excess and PCOS Society is the foremost international authority on research, understanding and treatment of androgen excess disorders. Androgens are hormones, produced in the ovaries by women and in the testes by men. Though a woman’s body normally keeps androgen levels balanced with female hormones, sometimes the body produces too much which leads to androgen excess and can cause polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is a combination of irregular ovulation and excess androgens. These factors can make it difficult to become pregnant.

Dr. Duleba and the other members of the PCOS Society meet annually to discuss recent research findings, emerging treatment options, and challenges facing women who are trying to conceive, either at home or with the help of specialists at a reproductive center.

As one of the fertility experts at our fertility clinic and as the Professor and Director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in the Department of Reproductive Medicine at UCSD, Dr. Duleba has evaluated and treated hundreds of women who experience PCOS, one of the most common endocrine disorders in women. “Most patients with PCOS don’t ovulate or ovulate very infrequently. Without ovulation, clearly they can’t get pregnant. My goal is to find the safest way for these women to ovulate,” explains Dr. Duleba.

PCOS is surrounded by misunderstandings and part of Dr. Duleba’s involvement with the PCOS Society is to sharpen the understanding of the syndrome. A better understanding of PCOS ensures patients are being diagnosed correctly so physicians can undertake the correct course of treatment right away.

“Patients should resist the urge to self-diagnose using information they find on the internet,” advises Dr. Duleba. “If they experiencing any of these symptoms, especially in combination, they should inform their gynecologist or the treatment staff at their fertility center, who can direct them to an endocrinologist trained in addressing issues specific to PCOS.”

What you should know about polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):

  • PCOS is not a single disease; it’s syndrome comprised of symptoms that can include excess hair growth, irregular ovulation and menstruation, and acne.
  • PCOS is often misdiagnosed, even by some physicians. Without proper detailed testing specifically for PCOS, some doctors may erroneously attribute symptoms to PCOS that actually stem from other hormonal imbalances such as thyroid disorders. Proper evaluation, based on clinical assessment, in combination with hormonal testing should be done by en endocrinologist who specializes in PCOS.
  • PCOS can make it more difficult to get pregnant but does not necessarily result in infertility. If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, there are still many treatment options available to help you conceive. An endocrinologist or fertility expert who specializes in PCOS can help you determine the best treatment option for you.

As one of the nation’s foremost experts on ovulation, PCOS and endometriosis, Dr. Duleba continues to reveal new understandings of how polycystic ovary syndrome affects patients who are undergoing IVF or other fertility treatment. The next meeting of the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society is scheduled for November 2016 in Australia.