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For women in the reproductive age group, one of the most common endocrine disorders is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). While the numbers say anywhere between 5 to 12% of women in a community suffer from it, the actual prevalence can be as high as 26%.
Most of the outcomes of PCOS – irregular periods, acne, excessive hair growth and weight gain – can be a little more than minor inconveniences. However, the one effect that has a deeper impact on all aspects of life of a person is infertility. It is well known that women with the condition take much longer to conceive a child, and many of them struggle with the issue for years.
The good thing is that like all other symptoms of the disorder, infertility can also be managed with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. It is not impossible for women with PCOS to overcome the problem and become pregnant. Read on to know a few simple lifestyle tips that can help you manage PCOS.
For most women, PCOS causes extreme weight gain. Changing this is often the first step towards increasing one’s chances of getting pregnant. Hormonal imbalance can make this difficult. Getting your BMI (body mass index) checked in order to understand how much excess weight there is to lose and your muscle-fat ratio is a good start. Once the goalpost is ready, you can work towards improving the quality of your diet while also increasing the amount of physical exercise you get. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, a weight loss between 5 and 15% vastly improves the condition of anyone with hormonal imbalances.
Irregular or no ovulation that is caused by the hormonal imbalance is usually the direct cause of difficulty in conception, especially for women with PCOS. Ovulation cycles can be tracked with the help of apps or simply by keeping a record of the periods. There are ovulation testing kits to help ascertain that a woman is ovulating. This helps determine the window when the chances of pregnancy are high. Regular ovulation is not enough, though. The eggs released also need to be considerably healthy to get fertilised. Doctors could prescribe medicines or injections for this.
PCOS often messes with hormones other than the reproductive ones, especially insulin. This also makes a woman with the condition more likely to develop diabetes or insulin resistance. This imbalance is closely associated with the obesity often accompanying the syndrome. In fact, lowering insulin resistance is one of the primary ways of managing the condition. This can be done with the help of medicines, though some of them would be contraindications for a woman looking to get pregnant. A diet consisting of a lot of fiber and healthy fats may help keep the insulin levels in check as well. Monitoring the blood sugar levels more closely during the time you are trying to get pregnant is advisable.
A stressed out individual has higher chances of producing a lot of hormones associated with reducing the chances of pregnancy. Therefore, it is all the more important to focus on one’s mental health while trying to conceive a child. A lot of the exercise you may be undertaking in order to lose weight, though, would help release happy hormones. You could also decrease stress through yoga and meditation. Additionally, you could indulge in activities that help you relax and destress on a more regular basis.
Keep in mind that a pregnancy in a woman having PCOS is high risk. It increases the chances of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy induced blood pressure and several other issues. However, don’t get discouraged by the side effects. Like for conception, you can work with your fertility expert to work on ensuring that you enjoy a healthy and happy pregnancy. And there is overwhelming evidence women with PCOS giving birth to perfectly healthy, full-term babies. Some of them do need to take help of assisted reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertilisation.
When you hold your precious bundle of joy after all this hard work, you can relish the realisation that it was all worth it!
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