Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is actually something that affects a large number of women. Some women have it and don’t even know it, or it’s undiagnosed. It affects a woman’s hormones so that she has a larger quantity of ‘male’ hormones. It causes cysts in the ovaries, and the many cysts have follicles which never mature, so as a result there isn’t ovulation. Since there’s no ovulation, this makes the hormone levels (of the male and female hormones) disproportionate. PCOS can cause excessive hair growth on the face and body, and also baldness. It can have long-term consequences like diabetes and heart problems. You could also be dealing with other issues like inflammation.
One of the most easily identifiable markers of PCOS, however, is that there are very often no regular periods. You’ll find yourself missing your period often. It is often believed to be a genetic issue.
Does it affect fertility?
Unfortunately, PCOS is a leading cause of infertility in women. It does have a significant effect on your fertility. However, this can be approached with several measures to help treat the symptoms.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, but you have PCOS, you will have to consider a number of things. It might be a bit tricky at first.
Consider other factors
There are other factors too which have to be straightened out between you and your partner before you worry about PCOS itself, but which will contribute to the issues PCOS creates. For example, if you’re under the age of 35 and ovulate more or less regularly, it might be easier for you to get pregnant. After the age of around 37, natural fertility starts to decline. Your partner, too, should not have any medical issues which affect his fertility, like a low sperm count, for instance.
Address your lifestyle
Some women with PCOS struggle with weight issues (although not all do). In order to be able to ovulate regularly, you need to make sure that you are at a healthy weight (weight loss, to a certain extent, can help regulate ovulation). You should make sure you’re eating a balanced diet of proteins and healthy fats and exercising regularly. However, also make sure you’re not stressing too much, because that can affect you physically as well.
If you have PCOS, you might already have been prescribed medication (like clomiphene and letrozole) to help with regulating your cycle. This is more of an option if lifestyle adjustments haven’t worked to regulate ovulation. If you feel like nothing else is working and you are in need of medication, you should bring up such an option with your doctor and wait for their advice before acting on any impulses.
If you are quite serious about getting pregnant and PCOS is proving to be a huge hindrance, then your doctor may also suggest fertility drugs, depending on the situation. Gonadotropins for fertility drugs might be injected into your system, in small doses. However, there are certain side effects, such as overstimulating the ovaries, which women with PCOS are particularly vulnerable to. Hopefully such cases will be dealt with carefully by your doctor. Fertility treatments can also be expensive.
In vitro fertilization
You probably know about this already, IVF is quite a popular route for families trying to pregnant and having trouble conceiving, and it is also an option if you have PCOS. The bills for IVF can pile up, but if you really are serious about having a baby, then it’s worth a shot if you can afford it. IVF involves rounds of fertility drugs to produce the eggs, then the eggs are retrieved, fertilized in a lab, and then the viable ones are transferred to the uterus. It can be a long and difficult process, but many families feel that it is worth it.
If you have PCOS and you’re trying to get pregnant, don’t give up hope. Yes, it can be grueling and a source of much anxiety, but consult regularly with your doctor during the process to make sure you’re doing everything you can. If all else fails, you can look into adoption as well.