Can I Still Get Pregnant With PCOS?
Most women want and can have children. But women with chronic conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often worry about childbirth and their ability to get pregnant.
The disease is one of the most common and fairly easily treatable causes of infertility. Its treatment methods are quite varied - from lifestyle changes and weight loss to IVF. Feskov Human Reproductive Group will select the most suitable solution to the problem of infertility, based on an individual history.
What is PCOS?
Every fifth woman in the world is faced with this syndrome. Which is a complex hormonal disease characterized by different symptoms. One of them is the formation of small formations on the surface of the ovaries - cysts. They appear due to hormonal imbalance. When the level of the hormone that causes ovulation is increased in the body and the level of the hormone responsible for the development of female ovaries is reduced. Also, there is insufficient production of estrogen - the female hormone, and androgen - the male hormone, on the contrary, in excess.
Because of this hormonal imbalance, women with PCOS experience irregular menstrual cycles as they do not ovulate every month, but only occasionally. Therefore, there are problems with conception. Although pregnancy can occur naturally, it will take longer.
For example, in the United States, 12% of women suffer from this hormonal pathology. And, in fact, almost half of women can live with it and not know about it. Due to a misdiagnosed or insufficient examination.
Symptoms of polycystic disease:
- scanty menstruation;
- excessive menstruation;
- no menstruation;
- heavy periods;
- high levels of male hormones;
- growth of unwanted body hair;
- cysts and fluid accumulation in the ovaries;
- fewer eggs are released from the ovaries.
If left untreated, the risk of type 2 diabetes, snoring, heart and vascular diseases, high blood cholesterol, and strokes increases.
Impact on fertility
Women with polycystic disease, even if they do not plan to become pregnant anytime soon, worry about it. Knowing that there are simple treatment options can help reduce anxiety levels.
Usually, ovulation - the release of an egg from the ovary, occurs once a month. Since women with pathology can ovulate less often, and also be prone to miscarriages, PCOS is a common cause of infertility. For people trying to conceive, the syndrome makes it difficult to link intimate contact with the fertile days of the cycle when ovulation is expected. And if ovulation occurs at all once every few months, then you will have to wait even longer.
Therefore, patients with the syndrome need reproductive treatment more than women without it. However, studies show that over the course of life, both women with PCOS and healthy women have approximately the same number of pregnancies and children. Thus, even those with a history of pathology, at least once in their life, become pregnant and give birth without treatment for infertility.
There is a misconception that it is impossible to get pregnant with PCOS. Therefore, they have unprotected sex. It is not true. Since ovulation, although irregular, still occurs. This is an unpredictable process. Therefore, if you do not want to have a child, you need to use contraception.
Body weight and PCOS
It happens that women with normal weight and BMI suffer from this disease. However, overweight and obesity are directly linked to PCOS. Obesity can aggravate the symptoms of pathology and make pregnancy difficult. So, in obese women with the syndrome, ovulation occurs even less often when many months pass between cycles. Also, often occurring amidst PCOS, type 2 diabetes, when there are disruptions in the processing of insulin, can contribute to excess weight.
Research shows that losing even 5-10% of your weight can get your cycle back on track. And the approach in combination with fertility drugs increases the likelihood of ovulation and a successful pregnancy. Compared to using medication alone, without weight loss.
Anyone trying to get pregnant is advised to have a healthy weight to reduce the risk of complications such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, preeclampsia, premature birth, etc.
For women with PCOS, losing weight can be challenging. To do this, you need to exercise moderately. For example, walking, cycling, strength training. And also adhere to a balanced diet that combines foods with high nutritional value, vegetables and fruits, proteins. Eat less sugary and refined foods, less simple carbs, and unhealthy fats.
Eating Tips for PCOS:
- eat more for breakfast and less for dinner;
- consume more protein and greens;
- eat complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains and legumes;
- when consuming sweets or simple carbohydrates, combine them with healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts) and proteins to reduce the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Special vitamins and mineral supplements such as folic acid also have a positive effect on the ability to conceive.
There are studies that say that regular exercise and a healthy diet have improved cycle regularity by 50%. And in combination with fertility drugs, the chances of success increase significantly. Not to mention, these simple methods make it possible to feel better overall.
How is the syndrome treated?
When trying to conceive a child within six months without a result, you need to consult a doctor who will prescribe an examination, then treatment and prescribe medications.
If the examination reveals insulin resistance, when the body cannot cope with the increased level of insulin - a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, then the drug is prescribed metformin, which:
- promotes weight loss and natural weight loss;
- stimulates ovulation;
- resumes the regularity of the cycle;
- increases the effectiveness of fertility drugs;
- reduces the frequency of miscarriages (if they were in history).
The doctor may prescribe the use of metformin temporarily to stabilize the blood sugar level.
To balance hormonal levels, they are prescribed clomiphene (clomid) and letrozole, which combine to induce ovulation. The former blocks the body's response to estrogen, while the latter suppresses estrogen production. Thus, the body produces more follicle-stimulating hormone, which promotes growth of follicles in the ovaries. It is not recommended to use more than 6 cycles in a row.
The combination of metformin and clomiphene or letrozole results in higher ovulation, pregnancy and childbirth outcomes than either medication alone. At the same time, you need to monitor the time of ovulation and time proximity to it.
As more powerful medications, you may need to inject or orally administer gonadotropins - hormonal medications to increase ovulation stimulation and to produce more eggs. A complication of the procedure can be a syndrome of ovarian hyperstimulation - an overreaction of the body to hormones.
A procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling, where tiny holes are made in the ovaries, is used as an alternative to medication.
The next method as the most reliable, effective remedy is IVF and surrogacy. When the egg and sperm are combined in the laboratory, and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus of a real or surrogate mother.
PCOS and preparation for pregnancy
Having the best possible state of health before the start of attempts to conceive a child, both for ordinary women and with PCOS syndrome, increases the likelihood of pregnancy and gives the future baby the best potential in life.
Leading a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a normal body weight, smoking cessation and giving up alcohol consumption. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are the first things to do to increase a woman's chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby.
If the doctor identifies fertility problems due to polycystic ovary disease, appropriate treatment, medications, procedures will be prescribed to improve the menstrual cycle with regular ovulation. In the case of overweight, sustainable weight loss programs will be offered in combination with medications.
IVF is the next step if medications and other methods don't help. Sometimes, for patients who have undergone ovarian perforation, it may be necessary to use an egg donor. Also, this is true with old age and a low oocyte reserve. However, for women with PCOS, this is a very rare occurrence.
All kinds of highly qualified reproductive assistance can always be obtained at Feskov Human Reproductive Group. Thanks to a variety of individual programs at a fixed cost, each patient will be able to solve her fertility problems and successfully become a mother.
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