Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common but treatable hormone disorder among women of reproductive age. Fewer than 25 percent of affected women are diagnosed even though about 10 percent of women of childbearing age suffer from the condition.
In women affected by PCOS, there is an imbalance in female sex hormones. The imbalance may prevent the development and release of matured eggs. The hormone imbalance may also include an abnormal increase in the male sex hormone in the affected women. Characterized by irregular or absent periods, excess androgens, and multiple cysts on the ovaries, PCOS is one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in the world. Although PCOS is synonymous with female infertility, women with the disorder can deliver healthy babies. This condition can make conceiving more challenging and raise the risk of certain pregnancy complications.
While PCOS can make conception more difficult, there are ways to treat a woman with the disorder so that she can ovulate normally, conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. Essentially, having PCOS does not mean you can't get pregnant. If you are diagnosed with PCOS, you might struggle to get pregnant because if you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.
This is because the high levels of male hormones prevent your ovulation (the release of an egg). But with lifestyle changes or infertility treatment, you can conceive even with PCOS. One of the steps that you can take is to track your periods as accurately as possible.
While PCOS can’t be cured, a healthy lifestyle can help manage your symptoms, it’s possible for women with PCOS to get pregnant on their own or with the help of medications that can help cause ovulation.
Women with PCOS are more likely to have complications like high blood pressure and, more likely to require a C-section. If you are affected by PCOS, you can boost your chances of getting
pregnant with medication. In vitro fertilization (IVF) can also help make pregnancy a reality for women with PCOS. While PCOS can have an impact on your fertility and your pregnancy, with the right care and treatment, conception and a healthy pregnancy are completely possible.
It is essential to keep track of your periods. During a normal menstrual cycle, the endometrium is exposed to hormones, like estrogen, which cause the lining to proliferate and thicken.
When ovulation does not occur, which is typical in PCOS, the lining is not shed and is exposed to much higher amounts of estrogen causing the endometrium to grow much thicker than normal.
The average menstrual cycle ranges between 21 and 35 days. While it’s normal to have the occasional cycle that is shorter or longer than that, let your healthcare provider know if your periods are consistently outside of that range.
It can be easy to lose track of your period and cycles, hence, recording the dates of your period can give you valuable information. Keeping track of the dates of your periods, recording both the first and last day of each one, and noting how far apart your cycles are, from the start of one period to the start of the next, is quite useful.
Taking note of things such as the heaviness of your flow, symptoms such as acne, moodiness, cramping, breast tenderness, bloating, diarrhea or nausea is essential. As for all women, being in the best possible health before trying for a baby, increases the chances of pregnancy and gives the baby the best start in life.
When you are affected by PCOS, adopting a healthy lifestyle including being in the healthy weight range, not smoking, cutting back on alcohol, eating a healthy diet, and being involved in regular exercise and enough sleep, are among the steps to improve your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby.