PCOS & Pregnancy: How Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Affects Your Fertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) happens when women ovulate irregularly or they don’t ovulate at all. Studies have deduced that it’s excessive male hormones that stop the egg from breaking out of the ovary every month, as happens in normal ovulation. The follicles holding the eggs then become cysts. The ultimate cause, however, is still unknown, but PCOS has a connection to genetics, excessive, insulin, and being overweight or obese. Don’t let PCOS terrify you. There are plenty of ways to increase fertility, even with PCOS.

Do I Have It?

According to American Pregnancy, 5-10% of women in their child-bearing years have it, so it’s fairly common. Symptoms include irregular or absent periods, excessive facial/body hair with gradual worsening over time, oily skin and acne, dandruff and thinning hair, pelvic pain, weight gain (usually found around the waist), high cholesterol and blood pressure, skin tags near the neck and underarms, and sleep apnea. You experience most of these symptoms, it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about PCOS.

What About My Fertility?

According to Advanced Fertility, “The basic difference between polycystic and normal ovaries is that although the polycystic ovaries contain many small antral follicles with eggs in them, the follicles do not develop and mature properly - so there is no ovulation.”

Because of the irregular ovulation, it will be pretty difficult to get pregnant on your own. You can track your cycle with an ovulation calculator to try and narrow down the pattern, but don’t panic if you’re too irregular or don’t have a period.

“The great majority of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome will be able to have a baby with fertility treatment,” according to Advanced Fertility. Luckily, in most cases, the eggs are fine. Getting them out is the difficult part.

What Can Be Done?

Because weight has a strong connection to PCOS, a healthy lifestyle can help manage your systems. There’s even an Old Wive’s Tale that one teaspoon of cinnamon every morning can help regulate your insulin levels, which can help with PCOS. After consulting with your doctor, there are plenty of fertility solutions, like ovulation induction, IVF, ovarian drilling, and fertility medications.

By Joanna Hynes

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