As a part of our Pregnancy Blogs 2021, let’s talk about the difficulties couples can have with conception if the partner is suffering from PCOS.
PCOS does not mean infertility. Infertility itself is due to many reasons and PCOS is probably just one of them. But PCOS does not mean you cannot get pregnant. Many doctors are quick to prescribe birth control pills but frankly, this just ends up messing the entire hormone system and the period which you get with a pill is not even a real bleed.
I was diagnosed with PCOS in my teens and my gynecologist gave me hormone pills to induce my menstrual cycles. She told me it is not a problem unless you have difficulty in conception. Luckily, I had no difficulty conceiving my first child but after 3 years of my first baby, my periods suddenly stopped altogether. It had been ten months since I got my period. I had some spotting now and then but no bleeding.
A visit to my OB/GYN ran a series of tests. She told me my PCOS had flared and I may not able to conceive again. I was shocked because I never expected this. And I was put on treatment which included birth control pills to regularize periods, a medication called metformin to prevent diabetes, and exercise to stop weight gain. Luckily I had regular menstrual cycles in a few months and conceived my second baby naturally.
I have gone that road but then side effects started presenting- weight gain, bloating, fatigue, body pains, mood swings, period cramps, inflammation, and PMDD or Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (a type of PMS which causes depression). I didn’t want to get back on any hormone or birth control pills as they gave me a lot of breast pain and mood swings.
Today, my PCOS is in check. All it takes is to identify the type of PCOS that you are suffering from and learn to manage it and bring it under control with a lot of lifestyle changes and this is not a one-time thing. Natural ovulation and a healthy period is key to good fertility and this is what increases the chance of conception. So while on a PCOS journey, the aim should be to improve the overall hormone health, induce natural ovulation, and menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy Blogs 2021: Types of PCOS
There are 4 types of PCOS and knowing which type you have is important to choose the right management protocol. Each type of PCOS can be managed with the right treatments and lifestyle changes. Some of these treatments only work for some women some of the time.
Different types of PCOS also have different symptoms – not all women with PCOS are overweight, or not everyone may get acne or facial hair. This may delay diagnosis and proper treatment. But irregular cycles and missing period affect all women with PCOS and is the most important symptom no matter which type of PCOS is present. To treat PCOS, you need to know the different types of PCOS and identify them. It is also possible that you may have more than 1 type of PCOS.
Exercising regularly, eliminating gluten and sugar from my diets has worked wonders by controlling the inflammation in my body and also my blood sugar. I have stopped using paraben, sulfate-loaded cosmetic, bath, and cleaning products as they disrupt the endocrine glands causing hormone imbalance. Seed cycling is another tool for getting your cycle back on track, balancing your hormones Seed cycling is the rotation of different edible seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle. Consuming this on a regular basis has helped me get my periods on track. Once my periods got regular, I have reduced PMS and cramps, and also the periods are shorter than my usual seven-day cycle. This is a great fix for hormone imbalance, PCOD, and menopause symptoms.
Insulin resistant PCOS
Insulin resistance means having high insulin. The best way to test for insulin resistance is to measure the hormone insulin (not glucose). The treatment of insulin-resistant PCOS is to reverse insulin resistance with diet, exercise, and supplements like magnesium and inositol.
If DHEA-S is high androgen this can indicate an adrenal type of PCOS. DHEA-S is an adrenal androgen (testosterone is produced in the ovaries). Adrenal PCOS is not driven by insulin resistance or inflammation. Instead, it’s an abnormal response to stress. Treatments include stress reduction, magnesium, and vitamin B5.
When getting off birth control pills, you can experience a surge in androgens on called post-pill PCOS. This is developed due to the pills which suppress ovulation. For most women, these effects do not last long and they resume ovulating after the effect of the pill is over. This can be treated with a healthy diet and lifestyle as well.
I had Insulin resistant PCOS. Exercising regularly, eliminating gluten and sugar from my diets has worked wonders by controlling the inflammation in my body and also my blood sugar. I have stopped using paraben, sulfate-loaded cosmetic, bath, and cleaning products as they disrupt the endocrine glands causing hormone imbalance. Seed cycling is another tool for getting your cycle back on track, balancing your hormones. Seed cycling is the rotation of different edible seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle. Consuming this on a regular basis has helped me get my periods on track. Once my periods got regular, I have reduced PMS and cramps, and also the periods are shorter than my usual seven-day cycle. This is a great fix for hormone imbalance, PCOD, and menopause symptoms.
Medical Treatments For PCOS
- Medications: Doctor might prescribe medicine to help with ovulation.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be an option if medicine does not work. IVF has higher pregnancy rates
- Surgery: Surgery is done only when the other options do not work. The outer shell (called the cortex) of ovaries is thickened in women with PCOS and thought to play a role in preventing spontaneous ovulation. Ovarian drilling is a surgery in which the doctor makes a few holes in the surface of your ovary using lasers or a fine needle heated with electricity. Surgery usually restores ovulation, but only for 6 to 8 months. Source: womenshealth.gov