If you have PCOS, you may be more likely to have a little known, hidden cause of sub-fertility: Poor uterine blood flow. This sub-fertility factor can be very remediable once diagnosed making a timely diagnosis very important, especially before IVF. Poor uterine blood flow can put the brakes on pregnancy success, making conception more difficult while increasing the likelihood of pregnancy loss after conception.
The hidden problem of poor endometrial blood flow is a factor that you may never have heard of before. Poor uterine blood flow is a much marginalized cause of sub-fertility, even though multiple studies repeatedly confirm how very important good uterine blood flow is for pregnancy success. Select IVF clinics do measure blood flow prior to IVF and recommend corrective treatments such as electro-acupuncture to women whose uterine blood flow is sub par.
Poor uterine blood flow is known to be especially prevalent in women with PCOS, especially those with high androgen levels. A study (1) set out to examine the frequency of uterine blood flow disorders in women with PCOS by measuring the blood flowing through the arteries that supply the uterus - the uterine arteries - and also within the uterus which can indicate whether blood can flow to the implantation sites adequately. Thirty six PCOS women were studied and compared to 36 controls.
The study showed that women with PCOS who were both anovulatory and who had higher levels of androgens - male hormones - tended too have multiple restrictions to uterine blood flow including lower endometrial blood flow to the implantation sites. The study concluded that:
"Subendometrial and endometrial blood flow is significantly impaired in women with PCOS who have clinical signs of hyperandrogenism."
If you are trying to conceive with PCOS you may want to consider asking your physician about uterine blood flow testing. A number of natural treatments have been proven to help poor uterine blood flow; treatments that reduce androgens and help to restart ovulation such as myo-inositol ma be of help too.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat health problems for which you should see a suitably qualified physician.
Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Sep;34(3):326-34. Endometrial blood flow is impaired in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who are clinically hyperandrogenic. Lam P, Johnson I, Raine-Fenning N.