Are you finding it difficult to conceive? Have you tried all tricks in the book all to no avail?
Perhaps, you need to know about PCOS, which represents 80% of anovulatory infertility cases in women.
It is a reproductive disorder with a prevalence ranging from 5% to 13% in women of reproductive age.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), almost 50 per cent of women with this syndrome don’t know they have it or are not diagnosed correctly.
What is PCOS?
According to a study by Johns Hopkins Medicine Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the ovaries produce an abnormal amount of androgens and testosterone(male sex hormones), which is usually present in women in small amounts.
The name polycystic ovary syndrome describes the numerous small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that form in the ovaries.
However, some women with this disorder do not have cysts, while some women without the disorder do develop cysts.
The exact cause of PCOS is not known, however, research suggests that certain genes might be linked to the disorder.
Having a family history of PCOS may play a role in developing the condition.
You may also be more likely to have it if you have insulin resistance or are obese. Insulin is a hormone that controls sugar levels in the body.
- Missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods
- Ovaries that are large or have many cysts
- Excess body hair, including the chest, stomach, and back (hirsutism)
- Weight gain, especially around the belly (abdomen)
- Acne or oily skin
- Male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
- Small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits (skin tags)
- Dark or thick skin patches on the back of the neck, in the armpits, and under the breasts
If you don’t get treated for PCOS, it also raises your risk for other health conditions, like:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Sleep apnea (snoring)
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is time to see your gynaecologist for an evaluation.
How is PCOS diagnosed?
Some of the symptoms of PCOS are like those caused by other health problems. Because of this, you may have tests such as:
- Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. This test is used to look at the size of the ovaries and see if they have cysts. The test can also look at the thickness of the lining of the uterus (endometrium).
- Blood tests. These look for high levels of androgens and other hormones. Your gynaecologist may also check your blood glucose levels. And you may have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked.
PCOS has no cure but treatment is often done with medication. This can’t cure PCOS, but it helps reduce symptoms and prevent some health problems.
Treatment options may depend on your age, the severity of your condition, your overall health and if you plan of getting pregnant.
Efforts such as maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a healthy balanced diet will help with the symptoms of the disorder.
Medicines are also available to treat symptoms such as excessive hair growth, irregular periods and fertility problems.
What to eat
The foods you should add to your PCOS diet are high-fibre vegetables, like broccoli, lean protein, like fish and anti-inflammatory foods and spices, like turmeric and tomatoes.
Also avoid foods high in refined carbohydrates, like white bread and muffins, sugary snacks and drinks and inflammatory foods, like processed and red meats.
Meanwhile, see a dietician/nutritionist for a more comprehensive diet plan.
Can you get pregnant with PCOS?
You can get pregnant with PCOS. You will likely need to have a moderate weight, balance your blood sugar levels, and treat other PCOS symptoms with healthy lifestyle changes and medications.
In some cases, fertility medications alone will help you get pregnant. If that doesn’t work, you may need IVF treatment.
Most women with PCOS have a 20 to 40 per cent chance of getting pregnant with IVF treatment.
But regardless of what treatment you explore, don’t lose hope. Success rates are optimistic.