What is PCOS?

PCOS : Dr. Akansha Allahabadia (IVF and infertility specialist, INDIRA IVF) explained, “  PCOS which stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is caused as an effect of hormonal imbalances allocation in LH: FSH ratio & insulin resistance in the body. It can lead to fertility issues in women and their inability to conceive. It also leads to a delay in periods and PCOS causes changes in physical appearance such as excess hair on the face and body due to insulin resistance. It is a misconception that women having cysts are suffering from PCOS Problems and vice versa through the formation of cysts in the ovaries due to an imbalance in the hormones is one reason for suffering from PCOS”.

It is very important to monitor the women having PCOS since females with these conditions are likely to suffer from miscarriages. In Infertility & Pregnancy complications such as, premature delivery and gestational diabetes some of these adverse effects that a person having PCOS suffers from.

Conceiving With PCOS-

Female Infertility issues are very common in women suffering from PCOS who also find difficulty in getting pregnant without the help of their doctor. About 8 to 10% of women who are in their reproductive age suffer from PCOS, with percentage being higher in Indian Population.

Causes Of PCOS

PCOS Causes – No one factor can be held responsible for the development of PCOS. However, mainly, the two major reasons for this are considered to be hormonal imbalance and resistance to insulin.
1. In addition to this, the chances of a woman having PCOS increases by 50% if a family member is also suffering from it.
2.    In around 80% of women who are suffering from this, the reason is insulin resistance. In this condition, the body needs to use itself in order to produce some extra insulin so that the sugar can be broken down. As a result of this, testosterone can be produced in excess which will further interrupt the growth of the follicles. This can also lead to an irregularity in ovulation.
3.    Another very common factor of PCOS is attributed to the kind of lifestyle that a person is leading. If a person is overweight and has a body mass index out of range, then it can lead to insulin resistance.
4.    If the testosterone levels are high, the levels of luteinizing hormones are high or if high levels of prolactin get produced, then, this can lead to PCOS.

Symptoms of PCOS

PCOS Symptoms – It is very normal for a person to not notice the initial signs of PCOS symptoms as they usually go unnoticed. These symptoms start from a very early age near the teens and remain hidden unless the women gain weight. However, there sure are some warning signs which should definitely not be ignored. These include-

  • Menstrual problems including infrequent periods, no periods or abnormal bleeding during periods
  • Loss of scalp hair but the normal growth of hair on other body parts
  • Repeated miscarriages
  • Increased depression
  • Insulin resistance
  • Dark skin patches
  • Increased mood swings and problem in conceiving
  • Health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, and increased cholesterol

Treatment for PCOS

PCOS Treatment – Though there is no cure for getting completely rid of PCOS, one can definitely control its intensity by following the below-mentioned methods:

  1. Lose the excess weight
    For women who are overweight, the best treatment is where they lose out on the excess fat because even 5% of weight loss can bring regularity during periods and also stimulate ovulation.
  2. Exercising and maintaining a healthy diet
    It is very important to eat fresh and healthy food and avoid eating junk food at all times. A healthy diet consists of veggies, fruits, and dairy products. If you also exercise on a regular basis, then both these combined together can definitely go a long way in balancing the hormones.
  3. Say no to smoking
    Male sex hormones known as androgens are at high levels in the women who smoke regularly. Interestingly, these are the hormones leading to PCOS which is why it is advisable to quit smoking in order to get rid of it.
  4. Hormonal Medication
    Medicines are the first thing prescribed by doctors to reduce the intensity. Some doctors will advise you to take Hormonal pills in order to have regular periods. The hair growth on the body or loss of hair from the scalp can be treated by taking medicines which can have a counter-effect on the male hormones.
  5. Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling (LOD)
    Since women suffering from PCOS become infertile, the ones who are trying to get pregnant can go through a minor laparoscopic surgery known as LOD. In this surgery, the ovaries are exposed to laser or heat in order to remove the tissue which is producing androgens i.e. the male hormones in the body in the first place. This aids in balancing the hormonal levels which will further lead to the ovaries functioning properly and leading to a normal pregnancy.

If the right treatment is provided on time, then even a woman having PCOS can conceive, Also be treated with IVF if their body fails to respond to medicines.

PCOS is long-standing

Couple has been trying for a long time to conceive

How to get pregnant with PCOS?

Dr Shubhdeep Bhattacharya (PCOS and IVF specialist, INDIRA IVF, PATEL NAGAR, DELHI) explained, “As PCOS is a hormonal condition which can cause reduced egg quality and infrequent ovulation, the chances of getting pregnant become really weak. However, in such a scenario it is advisable to consult an endocrinologist or an obstetrician the moment you decide to conceive”. Some of the most noted tips that they are going to give you that can lead to a healthy pregnancy include-

1. Monitor your periods

Doctors suggest maintaining a chart to see if ovulation is occurring or not because PCOS can cause you to have irregular periods leading to lesser possibility of ovulation thereby leading to lesser chances of conceiving.

2. Track the ovulation pattern

If you start using an ovulation test kit and monitor the basal body temperature, then this can go a long way to identify the absence and presence of ovulation in each cycle. This tracking needs to be performed for at least six months so that its interpretation can be carried out by the doctor.

3. Maintain a suitable body mass index (BMI)

As you must have come across the word ‘overweight’ a couple of times in the article till now, it is because too much weight can be a huge hindrance in a woman suffering from PCOS to get pregnant. This is why, it is advisable to take a healthy diet so that some weight can be reduced, improving the hormonal condition and further the ability to be able to conceive.

4. Eat healthy to stay healthy

This is one thing that our parents have always been telling us which we tend to ignore. A healthy diet is very important if you want to keep your body healthy. For a person suffering from PCOS, since the ability of the body to regulate insulin gets affected, the diet that one should consume should be rich in fiber and proteins in order to counteract the situation. Another important consideration is to stay miles away from consuming sugars and processed food items so that hormonal balance can be maintained for normal ovulation and thus a normal pregnancy.

5. Maintain chromium and magnesium levels in your diet

If there are lower chromium and magnesium levels in the body, it can lead to infertility. Therefore, it is advisable to consume a diet rich in both these vital minerals in order to be able to conceive. Measure Vitamin D levels & keep them in the Normal Rings

6. In vitro fertilization (IVF)

If drugs do not improve the condition, then, the doctors will advise you to go for an IVF since PCOS is likely to affect the eggs & Ovulations.

7. Care post-conception

It is very important to maintain the same kind of care that you took in order to get pregnant since having PCOS enhances the chances of a miscarriage. All the prescribed medications should be continued even after conception for a healthy delivery post getting pregnant.

These are some of the ways in which you can get pregnant. Ensure that you consult a doctor on time and do not ignore any symptom or the slightest hint that makes you think you might be suffering from this condition. Hope you have a happy and healthy pregnancy!

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