“Can I have children in the future?”, is a question asked by thousands of women affected with polycystic ovarian disease.
What is polycystic ovary syndrome?
PCOS or polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal disorder commonly seen in 1 out of every 10 women. In this condition, the ovaries produce abnormally high amounts of male hormones known as androgens which affect her menstrual cycle, physical appearance and fertility. Women affected with PCOS find it difficult to conceive and are at a higher risk of complications during their pregnancy compared to women without PCOS.
Some of the symptoms and signs of polycystic ovaries include:
- Irregular periods
- Ovarian cysts
- Weight gain
- Excess body and facial hair
- Insulin resistance
- Thinning or balding of hair
Is getting pregnant with polycystic ovaries possible?
There are many ways by which you can increase your chances of conception even if you have PCOS. The first and most important thing is to lose weight if you are overweight. Women affected with PCOS are often obese or insulin resistant. Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) can help you to normalize hormone levels and decrease insulin levels so that you can have regular ovulatory cycles. Systematic weight loss and regular exercise is the key to dealing with PCOS. Also, nutrition plays a significant role in helping with PCOS and increasing your chances of getting pregnant.
Along with dietary measures and an exercise regimen, you may also need to take medications to regulate the ovulatory cycles. Medications like metformin and clomifene are known to encourage ovulation in PCOS women. If these do not work, alternative options like laparoscopic ovarian drilling or IVF may be tried.
What are some of the very early signs of pregnancy with pcos?
The classic symptom of a pregnancy is a missed period. But if you have PCOS, it could be hard to spot, as women with PCOS tend to have irregular menstrual cycles and it could be difficult to get pregnant without medical supervision. There might be no ovulation sometimes, even if you get your periods on time. Such irregularities make it difficult to know if you’ve missed a period unless you track your ovulation.
Women with PCOS who are planning to get pregnant, will obtain best results under the care of a fertility specialist who can monitor menstrual cycle to know ovulation dates. You normally get a period approximately after 14 days of ovulation, so if you haven’t got your periods after 2 weeks of ovulation, you may be pregnant.
You can even use over the counter ovulation kits to check if you’re ovulating or not. Certain medications like metformin help in inducing ovulation, increasing your chances of pregnancy. PCOS medications often cause nausea, vomiting or a metallic taste in the mouth, which can mimic a pregnancy.
If you have PCOS, are above 30 and trying to get pregnant, it is best to speak with your fertility doctor. There can be risks like miscarriage, high blood pressure, premature birth, and gestational diabetes which can occur if you are trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant. The risks of these complications can be greatly reduced by monitoring your symptoms and taking extra care during those special nine months.
Also read: Is It Possible To Get Pregnant With PCOS?
Explore the entire collection of articles: Mom Health