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California native and Air Force veteran Jasmine Zielomski wrestled with a relatively common but rarely discussed enemy of fertility, and ended up turning it into a success story.
While it wasn’t easy, her story of triumph offers a message of hope for many other women in the US.
For more than a decade, Zielomski said she experienced difficulty getting pregnant and eventually sought professional help.
“I had been to so many different gynecologists over the years and had no answers.”
She was first diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) at age 31. This problem causes seven million girls and women in the US to experience hormonal imbalances each year.
“I never had any pregnancy scare, ever,” she revealed to Fox News Digital. “And I always had an irregular period, and I thought that’s what my body was like,” she said.
“I didn’t know this for so many years…I had been to so many different gynecologists over the years and had no answers,” she said.
After meeting with a doctor two years ago who guided her through a failed IVF attempt, and though 20 of her eggs were retrieved, the Air Force’s air traffic controller finally contacted Dr. Jane Frederick of Newport Beach, California, an internationally known fertility specialist, for a second opinion.
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Frederick is the medical director of one of the largest IVF centers west of the Mississippi.
Soon the tide began to turn for the Air Force veteran.
Leading cause of female infertility
The hormonal disorder PCOS affects approximately 3% to 10% of women of reproductive age and is the leading cause of female infertility.
It can also cause irregular periods, increased hair growth, acne breakouts, weight gain, and glucose intolerance.
CAN MY IRREGULAR PERIODS BE PCOS?
In an interview, Dr. Frederick shared with Fox News Digital that her practice specializes in treating women with PCOS who may not know how to control symptoms or who are having trouble getting pregnant.
The board-certified OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinology specialist said it’s important for women who may be battling PCOS to know the signs and see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
The disorder primarily blocks ovulation by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs.
There is no cure for PCOS, and it can cause long-term medical problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and uterine cancer, if left untreated.
“I urge women to read about this, be aware of what their diagnosis is… and know that they are not alone.”
Frederick encouraged PCOS patients to remember that they are not alone on this journey and to reach out to the various support groups available.
“Emotional issues are really difficult for this group because women feel like their body just doesn’t work,” she said.
WOMEN WITH COMMON OVARIAN PROBLEMS MAY NOT HAVE THE RECOMMENDED TESTS
“This can lead to irritability, anxiety, and that makes it really difficult to have a normal life. [can have] a great effect on their emotional lives and their relationships with their partner,” he added. “I urge women to read about this, be aware of what the diagnosis is… and know that they are not alone.”
‘This was a sign’
Zielomski went back to her previous doctor with Frederick’s recommendation to introduce metformin as a treatment for her dark, granular ova.
The doctor agreed, but then allegedly gave her little encouragement as they went ahead with a second IVF attempt.
Another grueling process and thousands of dollars later, Zielomski was once again out of luck. Discouraged, Zielomski investigated fertility benefits through the military.
He found a program that covered three rounds of IVF; also offered a list of doctors within the network. Frederick was one of the doctors listed.
“I was like, this is a sign!” she exclaimed. “East [was] definitely a sign that I should go with her.”
The veteran began treatment with Dr. Frederick and underwent IVF once more, while receiving treatment with metformin.
After the first round, 22 of her eggs were retrieved, producing 10 normal embryos and paving the way for a successful transfer in February.
As of this writing, Zielomski is 14 weeks pregnant with her first child. His baby will be born in October.
“Definitely reach out and be very open with your doctors about all of your symptoms so you can get the treatment you need.”
“Dr. Frederick… knew exactly the type of medication I needed, the dosage I needed, and was able to give me the results I needed.”
Zielomski added, “And just to prove myself, there was nothing wrong with me other than the fact that I had PCOS, and she knew how to handle that.”
The mom-to-be shared a message for other women who may be battling PCOS that “knowledge is power” when it comes to a disease that isn’t often talked about.
“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” he said. “Definitely reach out and be very open with your doctors about all of your symptoms so you can get the treatment you need.”
Said Dr. Frederick on the subject: “I talk to a lot of groups of moms and tell them if you have a young daughter who has just started her menstrual cycle at age 12, and you notice that she has had irregular cycles, acne problems, weight gain, all of these symptoms, could be a diagnosis of PCOS,” he said.
“I also tell my partners that 40% of female infertility is due to male factor.”
“Moms can really be the first caregivers to make this diagnosis.”
Most of the treatments for girls struggling with PCOS are hormonal birth control pills to regulate periods. But when it comes time for a PCOS patient to try to get pregnant, Dr. Frederick explained that this is where a fertility specialist needs to be part of the equation.
“First of all, be sure to rule out other reasons for infertility,” he advised. “I also tell my partners that 40% of female infertility is due to male factor.”
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If problems persist, Frederick suggested medications like metformin, which is a glucose regulator, or inositol, which is similar to a vitamin supplement.
“Both treatments can help regulate glucose intolerance that we often see in PCOS,” he said. “And it helps regulate hormones better so patients can have regular surgery.”
An additional treatment, Clomid, also known as Letrozole, can help promote regular ovulation. Always consult with professionals before taking any medication, of course.
“It’s about promoting ovulation, getting [a woman’s] more regular cycles and helping her with secondary symptoms like hair growth with weight problems and insulin sensitivity,” the doctor said.
Polycystic ovary syndrome can cause a high risk of miscarriage in pregnancies; however, there have been advances for patients who have undergone a certain treatment.
Additionally, a more holistic approach to addressing imbalances is through diet and exercise, with a focus on filling up on carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.