What is PCOS
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries develop harmless cysts around the edges, containing eggs that have not developed properly and in which the ovaries do not regularly release eggs (ovulate).
The exact cause of PCOS is considered unknown but the symptoms are thought to be due to abnormalities in some of the hormones which control the menstrual cycle, namely, a higher than normal amount of LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and of androgens (such as Testosterone), along with lower levels of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and Progesterone. In those women with PCOS, higher than normal (average) amounts of testosterone is made by the ovaries.
Did you know that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of female infertility? This common condition may affect up to one in ten women in the UK and around the world.
If you’re dealing with PCOS and trying to get pregnant, you’re not alone. Read ahead for our guide on everything you need to know about PCOS.
Who gets PCOS?
What are the symptoms
There are many different symptoms of PCOS, and not all women experience all of the symptoms, nor may they experience them to the same degree. In fact, some women are asymptomatic and only discover their PCOS when they struggle to conceive. The most common PCOS symptoms include: Menstrual irregularities, including amenorrhea (getting no periods) Irregular ovulation or anovulation (not ovulating), which can cause infertility Weight gain Oily skin and chronic acne Excessive hair growth on the chest, back, buttocks, and face Thinning hair and hair loss
How is PCOS caused?
The causes of PCOS are still unknown. However, it often runs in the family; you are more at risk if your mother, sister, or aunt has the condition. Doctors do know that it is related to irregular hormone levels and that many sufferers have high insulin levels. Many women with PCOS struggle with their weight, but the PCOS seems to cause weight gain, not the other way around. However, you can take steps to manage your PCOS symptoms, including fertility problems, with diet and exercise.
Can you get pregnant with PCOS?
Yes your chances are very much improved with diagnostics, guidance and support,. PCOS is a common cause of female infertility, as it can make it extremely hard to get pregnant naturally. In many cases, women don’t realise they have PCOS until they try and fail to conceive or suffer from multiple miscarriages. PCOS causes ovulation and menstruation irregularities, and in some cases, women don’t ovulate at all.
Treatment for PCOS
Most doctors recommend lifestyle changes as the first way to treat the symptoms of PCOS. For example, by losing just 5% of their body weight, many women see big improvements in their condition. Even if the weight loss on its own doesn’t seem to help, it can help increase the efficacy of any medications your doctor prescribes.
Of course, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is crucial for fertility in the first place. If you’re struggling to make these food changes or you’re unsure of where to start, speak to your GP or consider working with a fertility nutritionist.
For some women, cutting out simple carbohydrates (such as processed sugar and white flour) can be a game-changer. Consider adding more complex carbs to your diet, such as whole grains and leafy green vegetables.
Studies also show that getting active and increasing your daily exercise can help prevent insulin resistance and help with PCOS symptoms. It can also help you avoid diabetes, which can complicate pregnancy.
Another approach to managing PCOS symptoms is to use medication. These are often most effective when used in conjunction with a change in diet and exercise. To help induce ovulation, under strict monitoring by your fertility doctor, it may be suggested that you take medication such as clomiphene or letrozole.
A simple finger-prick blood test for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) including 5 biomarkers and results within 4 working days. Get tested today.
PCOS products we love
Supplements can play an important part in managing PCOS and easing some of the symptoms However, to answer this question, we have to consider what