A woman with PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome will surely face difficulty to conceive but, it doesn’t mean that she will never conceive. The right treatment and right care will yield to a positive pregnancy. In this article, we will be discussing all about PCOS and pregnancy.
If you are under the age of 35, ovulate regularly (even though you have PCOS), and you and your partner have no other medical conditions that affect your fertility, the likelihood is that pregnancy will occur within a year and probably even sooner.
If either of you has other medical conditions that also affect your fertility, like a lowered sperm count or uterine fibroids, it might take even longer than a year. Natural fertility can become a little difficult post 35 for women and post 40 for men.
What is PCOS?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones. This hormone imbalance makes their menstrual cycle irregular and it becomes difficult for them to get pregnant. PCOS also causes hair growth on the face and body and baldness. And it can contribute to long-term health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
Causes of PCOS
There isn’t one definite cause of PCOS. The various factors contributing to it are:
Research shows that PCOS runs through families.
Up to 70 percent of women with PCOS have insulin resistance, meaning that their cells can’t use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone the pancreas produces to help the body use sugar from foods for energy. When cells can’t use insulin properly, the body’s demand for insulin increases. The pancreas makes more insulin to compensate. Extra insulin triggers the ovaries to produce more male hormones.
Women with PCOS often have inflammation in their body. Being overweight is one of the major contributors to this.
Symptoms of PCOS
The most common symptoms are irregular periods and when the period occurs it is accompanied by heavy bleeding which lasts for days together. Women also experience hair growth on parts of their body like the back, belly, and chest. The other signs are acne, weight gain, baldness, darkening of the skin and headaches.
PCOS and pregnancy
PCOS creates havoc with a woman’s menstrual cycle leading to fertility issues. This in turn, makes it harder to get pregnant. Women with PCOS are at high risk for premature deliveries as compared to the ones who do not have this condition. Though with some treatment and a few lifestyle changes, it is possible to conceive.
Treating PCOS to increase chances of pregnancy
- The most important changes, to begin with, are lifestyle changes wherein you should maintain a normal weight, avoid processed food as much as possible and exercise.
- A few studies have found that 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least three days a week can help women with PCOS lose weight. Losing weight with exercise also improves ovulation and insulin levels.
- Medical treatments like birth control pills can help regularize the menstrual cycle and reduce facial hair growth as well.
PCOS can disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycles and make it harder to get pregnant. High levels of male hormones also lead to unwanted symptoms like hair growth on the face and body. Lifestyle interventions are the first treatments doctors recommend for PCOS, and they often work well. Weight loss can treat PCOS symptoms and improve the odds of getting pregnant. Diet and aerobic exercise are two effective ways to lose weight. Medicines should be your last resort only if everything else fails.
There have been a considerable amount of PCOS cases where women and have conceived and delivered perfectly only with the help of a few lifestyle changes made to their routine.
Don’t give up on hope and keep trying.
Also read: Is It Possible To Get Pregnant With PCOS?