Review of nonsurgical and surgical treatment and the role of insulin-sensitizing agents in the management of infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome

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Abstract

Objectives

To review the nonsurgical and surgical treatment and the role of insulin-sensitizing agents in the management of anovulatory infertile women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Materials and methods

The search term of subfertile women with anovulation and PCOS was used for identification of randomized controlled trials. Nonrandomized controlled studies were identified through computer MEDLINE and EMBASE searches for the years 1980–2002.

Results

For obese PCOS women weight loss of > 5% of pretreatment weight restores menstrual regularity in 89%, of whom 30% achieved spontaneous pregnancy. It was estimated that 75–80% of anovulatory PCOS women will respond to clomiphene citrate (CC) and 35–50% will achieve pregnancy. For CC-resistant PCOS women (20–25%), CC + metformin (1.5 g/day) for 3–6 months has a 70% chance of restoration of regular menses and ovulation, and a 23% chance of pregnancy. Laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) can be offered to CC-resistant PCOS women. There was no statistically significant difference in the ovulation rate following LOD with electrocoagulation and laser [83% vs. 77.5%; odds ratio (OR) 1.4; 95% CI 0.9–2.1], while there was a significantly higher cumulative pregnancy rate at 12 months after surgery (65% vs. 54.5%; OR 1.5; 95% CI 1.1–2.1).

Conclusion

Diet and exercise followed by CC should be used for nonsurgical ovulation induction. For CC-resistant PCOS women, metformin may be included in a stepwise approach before a surgical approach. LOD with electrocautery is superior to laser drilling and gonadotropin therapy.

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