Can PCOS cause infertility? Here’s what a fertility expert has to say

Updated on Aug 05, 2021 09:18 AM IST  |  242.7K
   
Can PCOS cause infertility? Here’s what a fertility expert has to say
Can PCOS cause infertility? Here’s what a fertility expert has to say
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PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome is an imbalance in the body of a female. The imbalance is in the female sex hormone. One’s menstrual cycle is not only controlled by the ovaries but is mainly controlled by the brain which signals the ovaries to release eggs. This condition is characterised by ovulatory dysfunction, high levels of androgen (also known as male hormones) and polycystic ovaries.

Hormonal imbalance in the body can cause many consequences in the body like more acne, irregular menstrual cycles or absent menstrual cycles, more hair on their body, etc. This is one of the most common problems that girls and women undergo, about 1 in 10 women undergo this condition. 

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What are PCOS health risks? 

Having polycystic ovarian syndrome increases one’s chances of having: 

  • Type 2 diabetes, because of excess insulin in the body and insulin resistance.
  • Heart diseases.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol abnormalities in the blood.
  • Endometrial cancer.
  • Weight gain (obesity). 
  • Sleep apnea.
  • Depression and anxiety.

PCOS can affect a person’s fertility in different ways:

Polycystic ovarian syndrome not only impacts the health of a person as stated above but also impacts fertility and the ability to conceive a child. What happens is that even if a woman has a high ovarian reserve (resting follicles), however, those follicles do not get matured in time and therefore they do not have regular ovulation. 

It is not impossible for a woman with polycystic ovarian syndrome to get pregnant, it just gets a little more difficult to get pregnant. It gets more difficult because, ovulation is not regular, and without regular ovulation, conceiving becomes very challenging. If polycystic ovarian syndrome is not diagnosed and is not treated with medications and a lifestyle change it can hamper your fertility. 

What is the fertility treatment for PCOS?

  • Change in lifestyle is also very important, as polycystic ovarian syndrome is often referred to as a ‘lifestyle disease’. Due to the sedentary lifestyle that many of us have been leading, problems like PCOS/PCOD do arise and cause havoc. 
  • Insulin sensitising medication such as metformin may be used to help women improve their ovulation. 
  • To improve one’s chances of getting pregnant naturally, without any artificial means, if one has polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is important to improve one’s body weight and, in a few studies, it has been proven that if one improves their body weight, the chances of getting pregnant increases naturally. This is one of the things that doctors encourage.
  • One should stop having processed fats and reduce sugar intake. Packaged foods should not be part of your diet. 
  • Load your plate with tons of greens and other vegetables which will be good for your health as they provide the required nutrients and vitamins needed. 

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  • If you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, it should immediately be stopped as it is not good for your health and will further complicate things. 
  • Finally of trying everything one still cannot conceive; IVF is a very common and very effective fertility treatment for women with PCOS.

About the author: Dr Saroja Koppala, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Hyderabad.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2021: History, theme and significance of this week

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