Can't get pregnant? It could be this. - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Can't get pregnant? It could be this.

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Dr. Singleton Dr. Singleton

By Victoria Hansen

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) --  It's just four letters, PCOS.  But polycycstic ovarian syndrome can keep a couple from becoming a family.

"Often women don't know they have it until they have problems getting pregnant," said Dr. Stephanie Dare Singleton, a reproductive endocrinologist with the Southeastern Fertility Center.

So what is it? 

PCOS is a hormonal problem that affects a woman's ability to ovulate and conceive.  Dr. Singleton says it is the most common cause of infertility, affecting more than 5-million women in the United States.

"It is very much hormonal regulated," said Dr. Singleton. "A lot of women who are diagnosed have irregular menstrual cycles and even irregular hair growth, like a light beard or excess facial hair."

The good news, Dr. Singleton says treatment is simple.  It often involves birth control pills or weight loss.

"I can be a mixture of too much testosterone and insulin resistance," said Dr. Singleton.

The bottom line is it can be quickly diagnosed and addressed.

"Most women with PCOS are able to conceive and start a family after treatment," she said.

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