Does Exercise Improve Fertility in Women with PCOS? According to a New Study, the Answer is Yes


Naveed Khan, M.D.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of female infertility affecting up to 10 percent of reproductive-age women. PCOS is caused by an imbalance in the male and female sex hormones that can prevent ovulation. Typically, the ovaries make very small amounts of male sex hormones called androgens. In women with PCOS, the ovaries start making more androgens, which can prevent ovulation and cause cysts to develop in the ovaries.

Some women with PCOS also experience weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Elevated levels of insulin due to resistance of the ovaries can be an underlying factor for the hormonal imbalance resulting in weight gain. Research on the impact of weight and fertility, especially in those with PCOS, has continued to develop and ultimately reinforce one of the common recommendations made by the physicians at Shady Grove Fertility: exercise. Shady Grove Fertility physician Naveed Khan, M.D., of Shady Grove Fertility’s Leesburg, VA office states, “Exercise and a healthy diet can improve a woman’s response to fertility medications and increase her chances of becoming pregnant. Research has shown that losing just 5 percent of body weight can help a woman achieve a regular menstrual cycle and ovulate on her own.”

New Study Confirms Lifestyle Changes Improve Pregnancy Rates in Women with PCOS

Most recently, Endocrine Society conducted a study with the objective to compare preconception interventions and their impact on fertility in women with PCOS. The participants in the study were between the ages of 18 and 40 and were either overweight or obese. As part of the study, the women were assigned to one of the following control groups: Group A was instructed to take birth control pills, Group B was instructed to partake in active lifestyle modifications, and Group C was instructed to do a combination of the two prior to attempting conception. After the intervention, the participants underwent four cycles of ovulation induction with medication.

Of the 49 women assigned to only birth control pills prior to conception, five delivered babies. Of the 50 women in the lifestyle intervention group, 13 delivered babies. Of the 50 women in the combination group, 12 delivered babies. The results showed that women who made active lifestyle adjustments during preconception were more likely to ovulate and deliver a baby.

Dr. Khan concluded that, “Whether you are trying to conceive or not, early diagnosis and treatment for PCOS is important. Not only will PCOS affect your ability to conceive, but it can also increase the risk for other health complications including high cholesterol, blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.”

Fertility Treatment Options for Women with PCOS

While diet and exercise are important first steps to treating PCOS, there are other treatment options available. Since women with PCOS do not ovulate regularly, physicians often prescribe oral medication such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid, Serophene) to help induce ovulation. Clomid with timed intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI) is generally the first step in treatment. If patients are not successful or responsive to Clomid, the next fairly basic option is the use of gonadotropins to induce the recruitment, maturation, and ovulation of eggs. Many PCOS patients will be successful with a more basic treatment such as timed intercourse or IUI. Those who are not can move to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and increase their chances for success.

If you would like to learn more about PCOS check out our ebook “PCOS: The Big Picture.” To schedule an appointment, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.

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Careers That Transform Lives: Patient Service Representative

In this six-part blog series, we are introducing you to some of the faces behind the magic at Shady Grove Fertility. Our team members are our #1 asset and we take great pride and invest tremendous resources in recruiting, training, and retaining top talent—the patients who entrust us with their care deserve nothing less. Each member of our team plays an extremely valuable role. Whether they’re working on a clinical team or in an administrative or management capacity, the opportunity to truly change lives in a profound way is something that motivates us all. We are rewarded knowing that, together, we are offering hope, changing lives, and building families.

Your Patient Service Representative
The patient service representatives at Shady Grove Fertility are an integral member of the patient care team—a team whose mission is to enhance the patient experience and work closely with our physicians throughout various aspects of the diagnostic and treatment process.

What is a Patient Service Representative?
A patient service representative is someone who greets our patients and visitors and provides a high level of customer service by:

  • Optimizing patients satisfaction, provider time, and facility utilization through appropriate and efficient scheduling practices
  • Maintaining accurate patient accounts by obtaining, recording, and updating personal, financial, and insurance information to ensure timely service and processing
  • Addressing issues in a timely manner to provide excellent customer service
  • providing a broad overview of regarding patients benefits, coverage, and financial questions prior to their financial consultation.

What role do Patient Service Representatives play on the health care team?
Our caring and compassionate patient services representatives are our front-line staff who answer incoming calls and greet incoming guests, including patients, to our practice. They are the “face” of Shady Grove Fertility and, in some respects, set the tone for the experience. They do so much more than check in patients and help to ensure each patient has his or her completed paperwork, they connect, they console, and they celebrate right alongside our patients. Many SGF team members throughout the practice have been in your shoes, so we are uniquely aware of the highs and lows that often accompany this journey to parenthood. Our PSRs get involved in your story, hurt when you hurt, and rejoice in your good news. They are there for you to lend you a smile, a listening ear, or some helpful information to make each appointment as easy and efficient as possible.

Patient Service Representative“I love being a PSR because we are the first ones to start the relationship with the patients.  They see us first and last as they come and go and we have the opportunity to give them words of encouragement and make this experience as seamless as possible.  I love to see my patients happy and satisfied regardless of their outcome.” – Celia Davis

What makes Shady Grove Fertility Patient Service Representatives unique?

“The staff is wonderful and caring. I have to say, everyone there was lovely and they all seem very good at what they do. The ladies at the front desk are always so welcoming and smiley.  I hope they all keep doing what they are doing for a long time because they ROCK!”

“The front desk staff is wonderful. They are always smiling, prompt, and efficient.”

“Before going to SGF I had visited another fertility clinic. I can say that the service provided by SGF is outstanding. At the other place I was treated as a number. At SGF I am treated like a human being. I am still on the 2 week waiting period, but I am satisfied with the service.”

Where can I learn more about joining the Shady Grove Fertility Team?
Visit to see how your work could impact someone’s life in a truly meaningful way.

Shady Grove Fertility’s team of dedicated New Patient Liaisons are available to answer your questions and schedule a consultation with a physician. Call 877-971-7755 or click to schedule an appointment

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Infertility Does Not Discriminate, Two Supermodels Share Their Story

Supermodel Tyra Banks and wife of John Legend, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, get candid with viewers on their new talk show Fablife where they discussed the question that is so often asked of women: When are you starting a family? This question can be especially hurtful to women who are struggling with fertility issues and they urge their viewers to refrain from asking such questions of women and snapping to quick judgments.

Infertility Does Not Discriminate

Teigen, age 29, commented on how intrusive it can feel when someone wants to know the answer to this question and went on further to share that she and her husband wanted children years ago, but it hasn’t quite happened yet. Banks, age 41, has also experienced her own insecurities of being asked when she plans to start a family.

For Teigan and Banks, their ages are relevant, as Banks represents what’s commonly seen in women trying to conceive at a later age—a steep decline in fertility for women after age 35. For Teigan, her relatively young age demonstrates that infertility does not discriminate and, even for women and men who are otherwise in their prime and healthy, from a reproductive standpoint, the story may be different.

At Shady Grove Fertility, we provide the necessary resources and support to help patients in their journey.  Shady Grove Fertility’s online patient community is a platform for men and women who are going through similar experiences. This community offers a place where people across the world can turn towards others for advice, encouragement, and to share their journey.

Infertility can be isolating, but with our evolving online community you are not alone. Join the online patient community.

If you have questions about fertility or are ready to schedule an appointment at Shady Grove Fertility, please speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877.971.7755.

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