The extent of the issue
Obesity is a public health issue both in the general population and in women of childbearing age. The figures are a proof of this and, far from improving, the problem has been getting progressively worse over the last few years.
Maternal obesity in the United States of America was calculated to be 7% in 1980 and had risen up to 24% by 1999. If we take into account both obesity and excess weight, the available data indicates that the figures were 37.1% in 1999 and 40.5% in 2003.
The NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) reveals obesity figures (BMI or body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2) in women of reproductive age (20 to 39 years of age) of 31.9%.
In other words, one in every three women of a fertile age is obese. […]
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
The extent of the issue
The term polycystic ovary syndrome is used to define an ultrasound diagnosis characterised by the presence of 12 or more follicles in each ovary (between 2 and 9 mm in diameter) and/or an incremented ovary volume (>10 ml). Findings such as these in ultrasounds in a single ovary are sufficient in order to be able to give a diagnosis. However, since taking oral contraceptives can change ovary morphology, this diagnostic criteria does not apply to women who take oral contraceptives.
From a practical point of view, when assisted reproduction technology (ART) is being used, detection of polycystic ovaries in isolation is useful for predicting the ovary’s response to stimulation using drugs and the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. […]
Having a sufficient number of mature egg cells is one of the key steps to obtaining excellent results in a cycle of in vitro fertilisation (IVF). In order to achieve this, the ovaries need to be stimulated and, contrary to what happens during a natural cycle, the ovaries need to simultaneously mature an appropriate number of eggs.
The most commonly used stimulation protocols are based on the use of doses of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). These may or may not be administered along with other drugs and vary between 150 and 300 IU/day. The response will be somewhere between 7 and 15 follicles. […]
Prolactin is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland and although it also forms part of the stress hormone circuit, it plays a vital role in breast development during pregnancy and the production of breast milk after giving birth.
Abnormally high levels of prolactin, which is referred to as hyperprolactinemia, causes disruptions in the normal menstrual cycle, anovulatory cycles, infertility and the production and spontaneous flow of breast milk in women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding a baby. […]