Can PCOS Affect Fertility?
When you begin to think about starting a family of your own, it’s inevitable that you’ll start to think about the challenges you might face that could affect your fertility. If there are ongoing health conditions you have, or medications that you take, you may start to wonder how they interact with your fertility. You might also wonder if there are any undiagnosed conditions you have that might be suddenly relevant.
It’s worth scheduling a pre-conception check with your doctor to discuss issues like PCOS, fertility and what you might need to do to give yourself the best chance of conception.
Today PCOS is what we’re looking at it, to help inform you as you start your journey towards parenthood.
What is PCOS?
PCOS is an abbreviation of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – a hormone driven collection of health issues that affect the body in lots of different ways.
Symptoms of PCOS include hirsutism – the growth of extra hair, in this case around the face, back and buttocks; weight gain; ad psychological effects – people suffering from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome report higher than averages instances of depression and anxiety. The most dramatic is that is causes your eggs to mature more slowly and often not to be released by the ovaries. PCOS can cause you to ovulate irregularly and rarely.
What Causes It?
Doctors still don’t know what triggers PCOS: we’re beginning to understand the effects, and what drives them in the body but the causes are still obscure, though scientists are testing a collection of potential causes both genetic and environmental.
What we do know is that if you have an excess amount of insulin in your body, it causes an over-production of androgen, the male sex hormone. This in turn has all sorts of knock on effects as we’ve described above.
PCOS doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant. It just makes it more challenging.
You can help you encourage and regulate ovulation by trying to lose some of the weight that PCOS causes you to gain, with changes to your diet and with medication like Clomid.
On top of those measures, you need to start monitoring your ovulation, so you know when the best time is to try to conceive. It’s an important measure if you’re trying to get pregnant at the best of times, but when PCOS makes ovulation rare, identifying it so you can capitalise on it becomes more important than ever.