How Does PCOS Affect Fertility and Can You Get Pregnant with It?
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is a treatable hormonal imbalance condition that affects 5-13% women of reproductive age. It generally affects the reproductive system and can impact pregnancy.
Here is how PCOS and infertility are interlinked and what steps you can take to improve your chances of conceiving.
Women who have PCOS experience hormonal imbalances, leading to:
- High levels of luteinizing hormone (responsible for ovulation)
- Decreased levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (essential for the function of ovaries and pubertal development
- Insufficient levels of progesterone (necessary for regulating menstrual cycle)
- Overproduction of androgens (male hormone) and underproduction of estrogens (female hormone)
These hormonal imbalances cause anovulation or occasional ovulation, leading to irregular menstrual periods. If you do not ovulate, you cannot get pregnant. That is why getting pregnant with PCOS can be difficult.
How Can You Get Pregnant Despite Having PCOS?
If you have PCOS, it’s critical that you discuss with your doctor about the best ways for you to conceive. They may suggest the following:
1. Maintain Healthy Weight
PCOS can negatively impact the way your body processes and stores insulin, thus leading to weight gain. As a result, women with PCOS are more likely to be overweight, which may cause severe anovulation (not having periods for months).
Weight loss may help you ovulate while increasing the success rate of your fertility treatments.
2. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Due to the difficulty in processing insulin and susceptibility to obesity, it is essential for women with PCOS to eat a healthy diet. Make sure to eat foods rich in nutrients, protein, and low on carbohydrates and sugar. Also, it is good to avoid processed and junk foods.
Here are some fertility-friendly eating tips for women with PCOS:
- Include more greens, good carbs (beans and whole grains), and proteins in your diet
- Eat a small dinner and big breakfast
- When eating high carbs foods or sweets, combine them with healthy proteins or fats (nuts, avocado, and olive oil) to decrease blood sugar levels
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly can help minimize your PCOS symptoms (irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, hair thinning, skin tags, acne, etc.). A study reveals that regular walking and a healthy diet can increase the regularity of menstrual cycles by 50%!
Your doctor may prescribe the following medications to help you conceive:
It helps you get pregnant by:
- Regulating your menstrual cycles
- Promoting weight loss
- Improving the efficiency of fertility drugs
- Reducing miscarriage
This is prescribed to increase hormones and promote ovulation. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe Metformin along with Clomid if you are not seeing results by using Clomid on its own.
This stimulates ovulation and is often prescribed when Metformin and Clomid are ineffective.
It is an injectable drug made of luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, or both. It is usually recommended when Letrozole or Clomid are ineffective.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) or in vitro maturation (IVM) are recommended if gonadotropins do not work. This procedure involves injecting fertility drugs to stimulate your ovaries so that they can produce a good number of matured eggs. These eggs are retrieved from your ovaries and then placed with sperm in Petri dishes to be fertilized. Once fertilized, one or two eggs will be transferred to your uterus to help you conceive.
After two weeks, your doctor will recommend a pregnancy test to see whether the treatment worked.
Having PCOS Does Not Mean You Cannot Conceive!
Though it is a common cause of infertility, getting pregnant with PCOS isn’t impossible. We encourage women to speak with their OBGYN to see what treatments and simple lifestyle changes can be made to increase their chance of getting pregnant.
If you suspect PCOS to be the reason for your difficulties getting pregnant, schedule an appointment with us at North Atlanta Women’s Care today. Our board-certified medical providers are well-equipped to treat PCOS with desired results, ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
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