If you or anyone you know has experienced infertility issues, chances are good that you’ve heard of polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. Affecting one in five women, PCOS is the leading cause of infertility in women. Along with frustrating side effects like excessive facial hair growth, baldness, ovarian cysts, problems regulating sugar levels, and irregular periods, PCOS can cause difficulties with getting pregnant. But the struggle for those suffering may be over soon, as scientists in Paris have managed to cure the condition in mice, and hope to do the same for women around the world.
It’s been known that PCOS runs in families, but the exact cause was unknown until recently. Dr. Paolo Giacobini and his team at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research explained in a recently published paper how they determined the cause of PCOS, and what the cure may be.
The researchers found pregnant women with PCOS have 30 percent higher than normal levels of the anti-Müllerian hormone. To find out if this excess hormone level was triggering the condition, they injected pregnant mice with anti-Müllerian hormone. Sure enough, the babies of those pregnant mice grew up with symptoms of PCOS like infertility and irregular periods.
Knowing the cause of PCOS is a huge, but what’s even more exciting for PCOS sufferers is that the doctors also think they may have found a cure for the condition — no surgery required.
Using the IVF drug cetrorelix, which is typically used to control women’s hormones during a round of IVF, researchers were able to counteract the effect of the anti-Müllerian hormone, and the mice stopped showing symptoms of PCOS.
A clinical trial using cetrorelix to treat women with PCOS is in the works, with hopes to start before the end of the year. If the IFV drug works as well for humans as it does for mice, science may have found a simple solution for a condition that’s caused heartache and pain (both emotional and physical) for countless women. “It could be an attractive strategy to restore ovulation and eventually increase the pregnancy rate in these women,” Dr. Giacobini told New Scientist.
Beyond helping women to get pregnant, this is an amazing breakthrough for those frustrated with the side effects from the condition, because they may at long last have relief. Fingers crossed for everyone dealing with or who knows and loves someone with PCOS that the trial is successful, and that this condition will soon be one for the history books.
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