PCOS is one of the most prevalent fertility-affecting conditions that affects women in the developed world. The NHS estimates that as many as twenty percent of women in the UK may have the condition, which means it’s well worth understanding how it operates.
Today we’re taking a look at how PCOS affects your fertility, ensuring you know that it’s not the same as infertility and that you learn how to get pregnant with PCOS.
PCOS and Fertility
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome has a long list of symptoms, including weight gain, acne and oily skin, hirsutism, skin discolouration, hair loss or thinning. Women with PCOS also report above average instances of depression and anxiety, though it’s not clear if this directly biologically linked to the causes of PCOS, or simply a result of living with the symptoms. The most dramatic entry on that list, however, is probably the effect PCOS has on your reproductive health.
The hormonal disruption that causes PCOS (the symptoms are caused by overproductions of Insulin, androgens (including testosterone) and oestrogen) disrupts your menstrual cycle. It means eggs take longer to grow to full maturity in your ovaries, and then taker long still to be ejected from into the fallopian tubes because ovulation becomes rare and unpredictable. It means your ovaries can become inflamed and swollen with unreleased eggs, and it means PCOS makes it difficult to get pregnant.
If you want to get pregnant when you have PCOS you have to take control of the condition. While fertility drugs can be prescribed to encourage your body to ovulate more often, you may not want to use them due to the side effects, which can include intense mood swings. Whether you want to do without fertility drugs or simply support them, you have to tackle the root of the condition, the engine that drives the other symptoms: the overproduction of insulin.
You can do this with diet, exercise, and certain key supplements. If you opt for a GI controlled diet, and moderate exercise, you can lose some of the weight that PCOS causes you to gain, and start to unravel the insulin resistance that the condition can cause. This helps your body return to a normal level of insulin reduction, and also reduces the amount of oestrogen in your system.
The challenge of this approach shouldn’t be underestimated – it’s by no means easy to lose weight when you have PCOS. You can support your efforts by taking an Inositol supplement. This is a chemical found in some foods that helps your body process insulin, and may at least help to reduce intense food cravings.
For many women with PCOS, moderate weight loss can help to restart regular ovulations, and give you a much improved chance to get pregnant!