Written by Editorial Team
Most women, today, suffer from PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, one of the most common causes of female infertility. This condition can start at any age, but only gets detected when a woman of child-bearing age is not able to conceive and approaches a gynecologist or infertility expert. Fertility treatment for PCOS is important to help such women and have a successful pregnancy. Doctors will use a combination of medication and lifestyle change to help patients dealing with PCOS who wish to get pregnant.
Irregular periods or difficulty getting pregnant because of irregular ovulation are some of the symptoms of PCOS. Some women might start gaining weight or suffer from acne or oily skin. This article discusses various aspects of PCOS such as the basics, how to identify it and what you can do to successfully conceive when suffering from the condition.
In This Article
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder that will cause the ovaries to enlarge with the small cysts on the outer edges. There are multiple environmental and genetic factors resulting in PCOS among women. Some of the symptoms are excess hair growth, menstrual irregularity, obesity, and acne. Doctors will generally recommend taking birth control pills for regularizing periods, medicines for preventing diabetes, statins for controlling high cholesterol, and hormones for increasing fertility rate and removing extra hair.
PCOS is a serious medical condition and requires proper surgical treatment. Most women who have PCOS don’t even know about its existence till the last moment. Women find out they are suffering from PCOS when they are facing trouble getting pregnant. However, this condition mostly begins right after the first menstrual period, when the girl is as young as 11 or 12 years of age. It can also develop among women in their 20s or 30s.
Women who are suffering from PCOS, have thrice the chances of suffering miscarriage when compared to women who don’t have the condition. Such women are also at high risk for developing preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. Some might even end up with a larger baby or a premature delivery. Women having PCOS will struggle to become pregnant and will be at higher risk of developing complications. But, by managing the symptoms at the initial stages, many women can still be pregnant with PCOS and give birth to healthy babies.
If you are suffering with PCOS and want to conceive, the most important point to remember is that there is no single medication or a single line of treatment to help you get pregnant. You doctor will put you on a combination of medications at different time periods. There will be a combination of medications as well as lifestyle changes that the doctor will prescribe which you must follow diligently. Treatment for PCOS can be a time-consuming process and you must be patient knowing that it may take longer for some to successfully conceive and carry pregnancy full-term.
The main treatment approaches and medications to treat PCOS and enhance the chances of pregnancy include
Progestins are synthetic forms of the naturally occurring hormone progesterone. These medications mimic the functions of the hormone progesterone and bring in various changes in the uterus depending on the time of use and dosage.
For women suffering from PCOS, progestin is the first line of treatment and is used for its ability to induce periods. We know that irregular periods are one of the main symptoms of PCOS. Your doctor will prescribe progestins in order to regulate the menstrual cycles and also induce periods, especially if you have not menstruated in a long time. From this point, the doctor will be able to monitor your ovulation and egg release so that the next stage of treatment can be timed properly.
For women who experience a lack of ovulation due to their PCOS condition, clomiphene citrate is an extremely important and often the first line of treatment. Some doctors use clomiphene as a follow-up step to progestin treatment.
Clomiphene treatment helps women ovulate successfully and release an egg so that pregnancy can be eventually achieved. This medication can be used to both induce and time ovulation for a woman. Timed ovulation is essential in assisted forms of pregnancy such as IUI and IVF.
For women struggling with PCOS, metformin has multiple advantages. Traditionally, this drug was used and is still used to manage diabetes in women with PCOS who also has diabetes or has a tendency to develop this condition.
Recently, researchers have discovered that metformin is also effective in inducing ovulation among those who fail to ovulate. In fact, some doctors and infertility experts prefer metformin over clomiphene and believe it to be more effective. Women who don’t show response to Clomiphene can benefit from the use of metformin.
Gonadotropins are a group of hormones that are given as injectables to women undergoing fertility treatments such as IUI or IVF. These hormones stimulate the ovary and cause it to release more eggs so that a woman undergoing treatment is able to have higher chances of conception. Gonadotropins contain FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH hormone in combination with LH or luteinizing hormone.
Women struggling with PCOS suffer from hormonal imbalances, chiefly progesterone and estrogen. The imbalance in these hormones is responsible for many PCOS symptoms such as extra hair growth, acne, weight gain, etc. Doctors suggest a combination of birth control pills which will help regulate the balance of the progesterone and estrogen hormones so that women suffering from the condition will have reduced symptoms and have a better quality of life.
Along with the treatment regimen, the doctor will also recommend an overhaul in the diet to cut down on calories and eat healthy. In addition, exercises will help curb unhealthy weight gain and improve oxygen supply to the body. A complete change in lifestyle will help women suffering from PCOS improve their chances of conceiving.
Even though there are no hardcore stats on the chances of getting pregnant with PCOS, around 70% of women will struggle to conceive. However, with proper doctor’s care and consultation, you can conceive within a year or even less than that, as long you are normally ovulating and without any infertility risk.
In case you do have ovulation and infertility issues, it might take a bit more time for you to conceive. It is highly recommended to get guidance from any fertility specialist before getting pregnant.
Doctors fail to determine what causes PCOS. Some believe that higher male hormonal levels prevent the ovaries from making eggs normally and producing female organs. Insulin resistance, genes, and inflammations are also linked with more androgen production.
Some studies show that PCOS runs in families. Not one but multiple genes can contribute to this factor.
Women suffering from PCOS will have higher inflammation levels in their bodies. Moreover, getting overweight is another reason behind inflammation. Excess inflammation is associated with higher androgen production.
Around 70% of women suffering from PCOS will have insulin resistance. It means their cells fail to use the power of insulin efficiently. The pancreas creates the hormone called insulin, which helps your body to use sugar from the food you take. It results in forming energy. When the cells fail to use insulin, the body asks for a hormonal increase. So, the pancreas ends up producing more insulin to compensate for the loss. Extra insulin will trigger the ovaries to produce extra male hormones. Insulin resistance can cause obesity. Both these factors will increase type 2 diabetes among women.
Some women face symptoms during their first-period cycle. Others can only understand it once they start gaining weight or might face trouble while trying for a baby. Some of the common symptoms of PCOS are
A gynaecologist or an infertility specialist will be the best person to carry out certain tests and confirm if you have PCOS. There is no single to test to confirm the condition, but the doctor will use a combination of two or more tests to arrive at a final diagnosis.
Once the doctor has all the reports, they will be able to tell you if you have or do not have PCOS and the stage of the PCOS you currently have.
Failing to treat PCOS on time will increase the risk of developing diabetes, mainly if the woman is overweight. The victims might suffer from cardiovascular diseases and endometrial cancer.
For women suffering from PCOS and excess weight, a modest weight loss will result in regularized ovulation. A healthy diet and avoidance of smoking and drinking will improve the chances of conception. Your doctor will put you on a series of medications to increase your chances of getting pregnant. When not consulting a doctor, women with PCOS can take the help of Ovulation Prediction Kits and have sex around that time to improve the chances of conception.
[Read : Sex Position to Conceive a Baby]
The first indication of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycles with or without weight gain. If you are married or of child-bearing age and are suffering from irregular periods with excessive bleeding, it is a good idea to see a doctor. If your weight gain and excessive hair growth are bothering you, you can see a doctor who will be able to help you find solutions to your issues.
Conceiving with PCOS can be difficult but not impossible. Finding a good doctor with expertise in treating PCOS will be your first step towards your fertility journey. It may be time-consuming, but it is important to not lose hope and stay confident throughout your journey towards becoming a mother.
Being The Parent Wishes You Luck On Your Journey.
If you are well-aware of the symptoms and visit the doctor time, you can treat PCOS to a certain extent.
It is definitely possible to get pregnant on PCOS. Timely identification, finding a right doctor, and following the treatment regimen strictly are crucial to getting pregnant with PCOS.
This will totally depend on your health condition and the stage of your PCOS. Your doctor will give you the information on the visits you need to make.
With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.
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