Getting Pregnant With PCOS (And Why It Kinda Sucks)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is one of the most common causes of female infertility. It is the most common reproductive syndrome for women between the ages of 20 and 40, affecting up to ten percent of them. Another thirty percent of women in this age group will not be diagnosed with the disorder, but will still have some of the symptoms.
The symptoms of PCOS include things like irregular periods, irregular ovulation, ovarian cysts, increased levels of androgens (male hormones), chronic pelvic pain, infertility, diabetes, high blood pressure, dandruff, acne, oily skin, skin tags, male pattern baldness or hair thinning, excess facial and body hair, and more.
Women who have PCOS often suffer from cysts on their ovaries, which make it hard for the ovaries to work normally. Due to the cysts, the ovaries of women with PCOS are up to three times larger than the ovaries of women who do not suffer from the disorder. PCOS can make it very hard to conceive, but luckily, there are several different treatment options available for women who suffer from PCOS. Read on to find out about them.
Usually the first course of action for combating PCOS is to make some lifestyle changes and see if that helps. What is the most important thing you can do if you are overweight and suffer from PCOS?
The most important thing is to lose weight. Losing weight can help you to change the way that the body responds to insulin, and can decrease the production of androgens in the body. Try to cut back on processed foods and sugary foods, and increase your intake of whole foods like fruits and vegetables.
By just losing weight, you can relieve symptoms and regulate your periods, which can make it easier to conceive. However, lifestyle changes don’t always do the trick.
Regulating a woman’s menstrual periods is one of the most important parts of treating PCOS. If small and simple lifestyle changes don’t work, a doctor’s next course of action is usually to prescribe oral contraceptives, also known as birth control pills.
Birth control pills help to regulate a woman’s hormones, and normalize her periods. If you haven’t had a period in a while, and you aren’t doing it on your own, your doctor might prescribe something to “jumpstart” your period.
The most commonly prescribed drug for bringing on a period is called Provera, and it will usually bring on a period within five to ten days of taking it.
If you are not ovulating, and you are wanting to get pregnant, it is likely that your doctor will prescribe Clomid to try to jumpstart your ovulation. Clomid is a very common oral fertility drug, and it is prescribed more than any other.
You take Clomid for a few days at the beginning of your period to bring on ovulation. Clomid is an anti-estrogen drug, so it is usually very effective in helping ovulation.
Metformin is a medication that is normally prescribed to diabetes patients or others who have insulin resistance issues. However, it has also been proven useful for women with insulin resistance due to PCOS.
Metformin can help to retrain the body on the way it processes insulin, and in many cases this can relieve the symptoms of PCOS and can also help to restore ovulation and help the body process insulin normally. Of course, metformin and all other PCOS treatments work much better if they are combined with a healthy diet, lots of exercise, and an allover healthy lifestyle.
If your doctor can’t get any medications to work for you to help you get pregnant, there is another option that might be considered. This option is laproscopic ovarian drilling, and it is done usually as an outpatient procedure. In this procedure, a small incision is made in a woman’s abdomen, and a tube attached to a tiny camera is inserted.
The surgeon is able to use the camera to take a close look at the ovaries to see what is going on. Then, your doctor can use a laser to burn holes on the follicles on the surface of the ovaries in an attempt to bring about ovulation.
Many women who have PCOS go on to have healthy, successful pregnancies, some women do not. Women with PCOS are much more likely to have miscarriages than women without PCOS. Some experts estimate that the rate of miscarriage in women with PCOS is as high as 50 percent.
If there is a silver lining in this bad news, it is that women who get pregnant with PCOS and have healthy pregnancies, often find that it is much easier to get pregnant the second time around. Sometimes the process of pregnancy can regulate hormones and body processes such as menstruation. It is definitely something to keep in mind.
Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.
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