An Innovative Approach
We have long been at the forefront of innovation in the management of hormonal and menstrual conditions that affect fertility. Our expert reproductive endocrinologists work with you to develop an individualized plan specific to building your family.
Endocrinology is the study of hormone-producing glands in the body and their irregularities. At Penn Fertility Care, we treat many glandular conditions that may alter normal reproductive or menstrual function, including:
- Amenorrhea: Primary amenorrhea is a condition in which a woman does not experience a period by the age of 16. Secondary amenorrhea occurs in women who have not menstruated in at least 3 months. Common causes of primary amenorrhea include premature ovarian failure, uterine or vaginal malformations, pituitary/hypothalamic conditions, thyroid conditions, and low body weight. Secondary amenorrhea may occur as a result of pregnancy, the use of hormones such as contraceptives, polycystic ovary syndrome, excessive weight gain, weight loss, stress, and pituitary or thyroid disorders. Women who experience amenorrhea should have an evaluation by a physician to determine the cause and how to treat it.
- Elevated levels of androgens: Elevated male hormones (androgens) may cause bothersome symptoms including excess facial or body hair, male pattern balding, acne, and irregular periods. In extreme cases, women may experience increased muscle mass and deepening of the voice. The most common conditions causing these symptoms include polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Evaluation typically includes a physical examination, bloodwork and a pelvic ultrasound. Treatments will depend on the cause, but may include hormonal medications, such as the birth control pill or spironolactone to reduce male hormone levels.
- Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism: The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces hormones that are important for the proper functioning of many organs in the body. Normal thyroid function is critical for normal menstrual function and fertility. Sometimes the thyroid overproduces or under produces hormones, called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively. These common conditions can be diagnosed through blood work and should be treated prior to pregnancy.
Our reproductive endocrinologists (REI) evaluate thyroid functions with modern blood analysis, assess hypothalamic pituitary function with the newest radiologic procedures such as MRI, and examine ovarian function with estrogen and gonadotropin levels. We work in partnership with Penn's Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Program.