Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition, that may affect up to one in five women. Asking how to get pregnant with PCOS, can be a difficult question to face. In this article, we will look at what the features of PCOS are, what having polycystic ovaries means, some of the signs or symptoms you may experience with PCOS, and whether it is possible to naturally conceive with PCOS.
There can be a few features of PCOS. The main three are:
- Irregular periods: This means your ovaries are not regularly releasing eggs
- Excess androgen: This is high levels of male hormones present in your body
- Polycystic Ovaries: An enlargement of the ovaries due to fluid-filled sacs
If you have two out of three of these features you may be diagnosed with PCOS.
Polycystic ovaries contain a large number of harmless follicles. These are undeveloped sacs where eggs develop. Due to their slow maturation, they are often unable to successfully release the egg. As a result, ovulation does not take place.
Signs and symptoms of PCOS usually develops in your late teens or early twenties. They can include:
- Irregular or nonexistent periods
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Excessive hair growth
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair and/or hair loss
- Oily skin or acne
If you are experiencing these symptoms to the point of of discomfort; losing weight can help make some of these symptoms better. It’s not easy, as the insulin resistance caused by the high level of insulin that’s a part of the condition encourages weight gain, but if you can lose some of that weight, your body may reduce its level of insulin production and this relieves many of the symptoms of PCOS.
It is still unknown what it is exactly that causes PCOS, it is known however that it is common to run in families. We know that it is related to abnormal hormone levels, including high levels of insulin. As a result, having PCOS can mean you are more susceptible to Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
Having PCOS does not mean that conceiving naturally is impossible. This is due to medication being available for the syndrome. There are other forms of medication that can also help alleviate other symptoms of PCOS such as hair growth and irregular periods. These treatments might not always be successful when it comes to fertility. If this is the case, then laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) may be recommended by a doctor. This is a procedure where tissues within the ovaries are destroyed by lasers or heat. These tissues will be the ones producing the high levels of androgen. With either the former or the latter forms of treatment most women with PCOS are still able to conceive. Lookings for signs of ovulation, can sometimes be a good indicator if the treatment has been a success.