Could PCOS be the reason why you are not getting pregnant?
What is PCOS?
PCOS is an abbreviation that stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. It is one of the major causes of infertility in women.
As a matter of fact, this condition affects one in every 15 women. The condition results when the female reproductive hormones are out of balance. This makes ovulation and periods very difficult. As a result, getting pregnant becomes really challenging.
What causes Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Little is known about the exact cause of PCOS today. However, medical professionals have found the problem to be hereditary. This means that if you have a female relative that has PCOS, you are more likely to develop the problem.
Research has also indicated that there is a relationship between insulin and this condition. Insulin is a hormone used by the body to control sugar levels in the blood. If you have PCOS, chances are that you also have excess insulin in your body.
How does PCOS affect the ability to get pregnant?
When you have PCOS, your ovaries grow small cysts that are filled with fluid. These cysts are harmful and they are what cause hormonal imbalances. These cysts can appear at any age provided you have reached puberty. When you have hormone imbalances, your ability to get pregnant is affected in two ways.
- The process of ovulation becomes difficult. When your ovaries are not producing eggs, there will be none for fertilization.
- Even if eggs are produced and you get pregnant, hormonal imbalances in pregnancy can easily lead to miscarriage.
What are the signs and symptoms of PCOS?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome usually begins with mild symptoms that can even go undetected at times.
The most common symptoms are as follows:
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
This is usually one of the earliest symptoms. Female reproductive hormones are usually responsible for a normal cycle. If you are missing periods, there is a possibility that the hormones are out of balance and this could be an indicator for the onset of PCOS.
- Excessive growth of hair.
PCOS patients usually have an excess of the male hormones called androgens. These cause hirsutism. According to the US department of health and human services, this condition will make you have excessive hair on your face, back and feet. You may also experience male hair conditions such as balding.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about half of the women that have PCOS are either overweight or obese. If you are experiencing abnormal weight gain especially around the waist region, it could be an indication that you have PCOS.
Pelvic pain is another common sign of PCOS according to the womenshealth.gov website. The ovarian cysts are usually painless, but there are times when they and rupture leading to a lot of pain and discomfort in the pelvic area.
Other symptoms include:
- changes in the skin where discolored patches of skin appear on the thighs, arms or breasts
It is important to note that these symptoms are not exclusive to polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you are having them, it is wise to visit a doctor and have diagnostic tests run. This will determine whether you have the problem or not.
What treatment options are there for PCOS?
The good thing about this condition is that it is controllable. The main worry of most women suffering from this condition is inability to get pregnant.
The treatment options open to you if you have the problem include:
Controlling insulin levels: As mentioned earlier, excess insulin leads to excess androgen production. Androgens are what cause hormonal imbalances and trigger PCOS. This means that if the level of insulin is controlled, the chain reaction can be stopped hence helping you in controlling PCOS.
Weight loss: weight loss has also been proven to have a positive effect in managing polycystic ovarian syndrome. The doctor can recommend the diet that will help you manage weight. They will also help you get a work-out routine that will help you get back in shape.
Surgery: Treatment with surgery is also another option open to women that have PCOS. The surgeon removes the cysts from the ovaries. This method is very effective and can rid you of PCOS symptoms and complications for good.
It is very important to be patient when dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome especially if you want to get pregnant. Make sure you follow the doctor’s advice. In addition to that have realistic expectations about the healing process.