Many women struggle for months trying to become pregnant, not understanding why those frustrating pregnancy tests just don’t give them the results they’ve been hoping for. You may be doing everything right as far as the books and magazines have told you, but if you have PCOS and the condition isn’t under control, it is very possible that the disorder is preventing you from achieving that pregnancy you’ve been hoping for so desperately. Exactly how does PCOS affect a woman’s fertility and what can you do about it? Fortunately, there is some very good news…
What is PCOS?
PCOS, also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a hormone-related medical condition that can have an impact on your hormone levels, menstrual cycles, fertility and even your physical appearance. While the exact causes of PCOS are still unclear, researchers are starting to think that it has to do with the body’s production of too much insulin, which results in the over-production of androgens or male hormones. These male hormones lead to the frustrating side effects that women with PCOS experience.
How Does PCOS Affect Fertility?
If you’re living with PCOS, the excessive male hormones that your body is creating can interfere with the production of the female hormones that your body needs in order to ovulate. Because your body is not ovulating, progesterone (the hormone that causes the lining of the uterus to thicken) is not being produced. This results in an absence of periods or irregular menstruation. When there is a lack of ovulation and menstruation, conception just isn’t possible.
Can Anything Be Done to Help?
Fortunately, PCOS does not have to stop you from conceiving a child. While untreated PCOS will definitely have an impact on your ability to become pregnant, there are steps you can take to help your body conceive.
First and foremost, weight loss can help you improve your hormone imbalances, resulting in your menstrual cycle returning to normal. Research has shown that as little as a five percent reduction in weight can have a significant impact on your body’s ability to conceive.
Metformin, a prescription drug that helps your body’s sensitivity to insulin, may also be able to help you conceive. Because high insulin levels lead to high levels of male hormones, Metformin can reduce the level of male hormones that are running through your body and interfering with your ability to become pregnant.
While some women do need to resort to fertility drugs, not everyone does. Fertility drugs should not be your first choice when trying to conceive with PCOS. However, if all of the above approaches do not work, medications like Clomid can help you achieve fertility by blocking the estrogen receptors in the brain.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this… Yes, PCOS can make it more difficult to have a baby, but it does not have to stop you from becoming a mother. You just need to understand how the condition is interfering with your ability to conceive and take measures to control the disorder. Once your PCOS is under control, becoming pregnant becomes a very real possibility.
Circle + Bloom offers audio mind+body programs to help women with PCOS. One program for when you are not trying to conceive (PCOS for Health) and another program for when you are (PCOS for Fertility).
Please always consult your Doctor for how any information you read relates to you personally, including the information on this site and included in this post.