Every month microscopic-sized follicles are formed on the surface of the ovary in women of reproductive age. One of the follicles produces a mature egg in response to female sex hormones. The egg is subsequently released from the follicle by the ovary. Usually, women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) face an imbalance in female sex hormones. The imbalance can stop mature eggs from developing and releasing. Neither ovulation nor pregnancy can take place in the absence of a developed egg.
What is PCOS?
In comparison to typical women, women with PCOS have greater insulin and androgen (male-type hormone) levels. One in ten women in reproductive years suffer from PCOS. The ovaries experience complications as a result of hormonal imbalance. These complications may include the egg not maturing normally or not being released during ovulation as it should be.
The common symptoms of PCOS include irregular or no periods, weight gain, acne, excess hair growth on the face, stomach and back, loss of hair on the top of the scalp etc.
What causes PCOS?
The exact cause of PCOS is not known. Most scientists concur that a number of variables, including genetics, are involved.
- High androgen concentrations
All women produce some androgens, commonly referred to as “man hormones” which are responsible for controlling the development of male characteristics. However, PCOS patients have higher levels of androgens than average. An excess of hair growth and acne, two symptoms of high androgen levels in women often suffering from PCOS, can hinder the ovaries from producing an egg (ovulation) throughout each menstrual cycle.
- High insulin levels
Insulin regulates the process by which food is converted into energy. When the body’s cells do not react to insulin as they should, this is known as insulin resistance. The blood levels of insulin rise over normal as a result. Insulin resistance is common in women with PCOS, especially those who are overweight, practise bad eating habits, get little exercise, or have a family history of diabetes (usually, type 2 diabetes).
How does PCOS affect fertility?
A person’s fertility may be impacted by PCOS in several ways.
Infertility in women with PCOS is often caused mostly by ovulation issues. A rise in testosterone production or immaturity of follicles on the ovaries may prevent ovulation. Even if ovulation takes place, an imbalance in hormones may prevent the lining of the uterus from correctly growing so that the mature egg can be implanted. Ovulation and menstruation can be irregular as a result of hormone imbalance. Unpredictable menstruation periods might make it challenging to become pregnant. Additionally, being overweight is a huge hindrance for women with PCOS to get pregnant since it lowers fertility.
What treatments are available for PCOS?
There is no treatment for PCOS in itself but the symptoms can be treated.
- Maintain healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is the primary and most crucial kind of therapy. The likelihood of getting pregnant has been found to rise with a healthy lifestyle. If you are overweight, even a small weight loss of a few pounds may help you conceive. This is crucial for women, especially those who don’t ovulate consistently.
- Oral Drugs
Several oral drugs can be quite helpful in helping people with PCOS conceive, like clomifene citrate, which stimulates your ovaries to release eggs, or metformin, which is used to correct insulin resistance.
- In-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
If medication does not work, IVF may be a possibility. In IVF, your egg is fertilised in a lab with your partner’s sperm before being implanted inside your uterus. This fertilized egg, now known as an embryo, is allowed to develop for 3-5 days in an incubator before it is transferred directly into the uterus.
- Dietary Changes
A low glycemic diet may help some PCOS sufferers with their symptoms and fertility. In a low glycemic diet, fewer items are consumed that raise blood sugar levels quickly. Avoiding spikes makes blood sugar levels more steady, which lowers insulin levels and reduces testosterone levels.
A minor surgical procedure called laparoscopic ovarian drilling (LOD) may be a treatment option for fertility problems associated with PCOS that do not respond to medicine. It is a surgical technique of puncturing the membranes surrounding the ovary with a laser beam or a surgical needle using minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures.
PCOS is a condition that involves a hormonal imbalance that can interfere with ovulation. Many people with PCOS-related fertility issues can become pregnant with medical help. It’s crucial to remember that having PCOS does not exclude pregnancy. It can be challenging to manage the symptoms of PCOS and infertility. It’s possible that you’ll feel depressed and anxious. Therefore, it is important to maintain a positive attitude.
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