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New Research from The Jewish Hospital - Mercy Health Can Help Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Have Children

(CINCINNATI; December 11, 2012) – It’s a heartbreaking cycle. Many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) struggle to get pregnant and when they do, up to 50% of them suffer miscarriages. However, new research from Charles Glueck, MD, Medical Director of the Cholesterol and Metabolism Center at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health looks to improve the odds of these women bearing children.

“During the course of this research, we learned a crucial new fact. The success of Glucophage treatment in preventing recurrent miscarriage lies in starting it three to four months before conception instead of at or just before conception,” said Dr. Glueck, who published the first paper on the safe treatment of PCOS in 1994 and continues to be a leading researcher of this condition.

PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women, affecting six to eight percent of Caucasians, eight to 10 percent of African-Americans and 10 to 12 percent of Latinos and Native Americans. It’s characterized by insulin resistance, which causes the ovary to overproduce the male hormone testosterone. This, in turn, affects the pituitary gland’s ability to send needed luteinizing and follicle stimulating (LH-FSH) hormone signals to the ovary. Without these hormone signals, a woman’s eggs fail to ripen, so she doesn’t ovulate. Without ovulation, a woman will have no or very few menstrual periods. Up to 10% of women suffer from PCOS.

Glucophage, which doctors use to treat adult onset diabetes, reduces insulin resistance. This, in turn, reduces the abnormal production of testosterone by the ovary, allowing the pituitary to release LH-FSH signals correctly and facilitate normal ovulation. Previous studies started Glucophage treatment one month before or at the time of conception. Although safe for mothers and babies, the Glucophage treatment did not decrease the number of miscarriages suffered by women with PCOS. Dr. Glueck and his team set out to assess whether a combination of Glucophage and a special diet started at least three months before conception and maintained throughout pregnancy would safely reduce first trimester miscarriage and improve pregnancy outcomes in women with PCOS.

“We studied 76 women with PCOS. Before coming to see us, they had experienced 36 miscarriages (47%) and 40 live births (53%),” says Dr. Glueck. “As part of our research, we started them on Glucophage and a low glycemic diet an average of just under seven months before conception and they stayed on the regime through pregnancy. Since then, these women have experienced 14 (18%) miscarriages and 62 (82%) live births, a huge improvement in pregnancy outcomes. We found that starting the women on Glucophage and a special diet at least three months before conception conditioned the endocrine system and the eggs in the ovary and reduced abnormal coagulation factors. This facilitated both conception and retention of the pregnancy. Our research points the way to what may be an optimal new treatment option for women with PCOS who want to have children.”

Current Medical Research and Opinion published Dr. Glueck’s study on December 3, 2012. A Jewish Hospital Internal Medical Resident, Dr. Jagjit Padda, and Dr. Zia Khan (Family Practice Residency, Wright State), Dr. Joel Pranikoff (Gynecologic and Obstetric Consultants of Greater Cincinnati) and Dr. Naila Goldenberg and Ping Wang, PhD, both of the Cholesterol and Metabolism Center at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health, also contributed to the study.

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Date Last Modified: 5/3/2013 5:25:57 PM