Here are tips to help you get pregnant if diagnosed with PCOS.
How to do know if you have PCOS?
Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder that affects between 5 to 10 % of all women. The disorder produces a hormonal imbalance affecting fertility in such a way that women with PCOS do not ovulate (release an egg) regularly. Ovulation is suppressed because the poly-cystic ovaries contain many small cysts that impede the natural process of egg maturation.
Symptoms that suggest you may have PCOS are:
- Irregular menstruation cycles and irregular ovulations. Some women with PCOS have irregular ovulation / menstruation cycles and some of them do not ovulate or menstruate for long periods – even years – at a time.
- Excess hair (hirsutism). Women with PCOS also usually have an excess of the male hormones testosterone and androstenedione – which cause high testosterone in the blood. This condition often causes women to have excess hair and acne.
- Overweight. Studies report that as many as 80% of women diagnosed with PCOS are significantly overweight. There is consistent research that suggests that there may be environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to the high rate of obesity in women with PCOS.
- Infertility and Miscarriage. Infertility and miscarriage is very high in women who have PCOS. Most will require treatment to improve their chances of a successful pregnancy.
Women with PCOS can take different approaches toward conception
For women under the age of 35 with PCOS, the chances are very good that they will be able to conceive and carry a baby to term. Often, it just requires figuring out which fertility treatment will work the best. Women with PCOS usually need induction of ovulation to get pregnant. Induction of ovulation is the use of medication to stimulate development of one or more mature follicles in order to cause ovulation. They include:
- Clomid (clomiphrene citrate)
- Clomid and metformin together
- Femara or letrozole
- Injectable gonadotropins
- Ovarian drilling
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
If overweight is an issue, the approach then will be to try weight loss and include other lifestyle changes before administering any fertility medications to see if the body will naturally start ovulating on its own. In one study of women with PCOS, the participants started having regular periods or became pregnant after losing at least 5 % of their initial body weight.
Tips that can help your chances of getting pregnant with PCOS
There are some natural nutritional and lifestyle changes that can help women with PCOS normalize their hormones and increase their chances of getting pregnant.
1. Achieve and maintain a normal weight
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the best diet for a woman with PCOS. However, there is not a “one-size fits all” diet and should be tailored to the individual woman. A woman with PCOS that is overweight should consume a diet that is 40% carbohydrates or less, depending on what works for the individual. Learn more about PCOS and diet here.
2. Stay physically active
Regular exercise will help build lean mass which will speed up metabolism, burn calories, and aid in weight loss. Exercise lowers blood pressure, raises HDL cholesterol and may improve insulin resistance. What’s really great about being physically active is that it will help you feel less depressed, reduce your stress level, and improve your sleep.
3. Restore your body using vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies
Women with PCOS may benefit from taking a pharmaceutical-grade multivitamin with a mineral balance high in antioxidants. Other micro-nutrients that help to offset insulin resistance include B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), and B12, C, D, and E. There are many fertility teas on the market that may help support your reproductive system and some contain the following herbs:
- Red clover
- Dandelion root
- Nettle leaves
- Red raspberry leaf
- Rose hips
4. Reduce stress and create a balanced life
Many women experience a great deal of stress in their lives. As a matter of fact, women who are experiencing infertility have higher than average rates of depression. Find what works for you to lower your stress and have a happy life.
Even though PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women, at the end many women with PCOS experience successful pregnancies. By being open to medical interventions and making a commitment to natural nutritional and lifestyle remedies, many women with this form of hormonal imbalance improve their fertility potential and pregnancy chance.
Opionato (www.opionato.com) is your trusted go-to fertility expert accessible at anytime from anywhere. We assess your fertility potential and provide next-step fertility advice so your path to pregnancy is short and stress-free.
Opionato started with one woman’s personal fertility experience and the vision to give others what she lacked. Read Maja’s story here: https://www.opionato.com/blog/what-i-wish-i-knew-my-fertility-journey.