How To Get Pregnant With PCOS Quickly

Among the most prevalent reasons for infertility in the 21st century is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects approximately five million¹ individuals. However, contrary to popular belief, PCOS does not entirely preclude pregnancy.

Although many women struggle with getting pregnant with PCOS after 30 years old, many efficient fertility therapies are available, including gonadotropins, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and Clomid.

Suppose you are wondering how to get pregnant with PCOS. In that case, you will be happy to know that it only requires a combination of fertility treatments and lifestyle modifications to be successful. Note that while the vast majority of women with PCOS will get pregnant with less sophisticated reproductive procedures, some may need IVF.

Curious about clinical trials for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Researchers are studying thousands of new treatments and you could be a part of finding a cure while accessing the newest treatments for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a complex hormonal condition that causes excessive production of androgens — a male sex hormone usually present in women in minimal amounts. Women with PCOS can also have low amounts of estrogen, a female sex hormone. 

Women diagnosed with this condition also have low amounts of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is crucial in the functioning of men's testes and women's ovaries. This hormone is vital during pubertal development. Furthermore, women with PCOS usually have increased levels of the luteinizing hormone (LH), which is responsible for triggering ovulation. 

Statistics² show that one in five women worldwide have PCOS, whether they know it or not. The term ‘polycystic ovary syndrome' refers to the many little fluid-filled sacs (cysts) on the ovaries' outer surface.

These occur when a woman does not have adequate hormones to trigger ovulation, which is when the ovary releases a female egg for fertilization by a male sperm. If the egg does not undergo fertilization, it is removed from the body during menstruation.

However, if a woman does not have enough hormones to trigger ovulation, ovulation does not occur, leading to the formation of small cysts on the ovaries' surface. These cysts are responsible for androgen production, which is usually responsible for most PCOS symptoms.

Symptoms and causes

The cause of PCOS is still unknown. However, insulin resistance is prevalent in women with PCOS, implying that the body is unaware of how to optimally use insulin, leading to insulin buildup, which influences the production of androgens.

Additionally, obesity might boost insulin levels and exacerbate PCOS symptoms. It is vital to note that research³ shows that PCOS can also be genetically induced. Thus, if your sister or brother has it, you are likely to as well.

Common symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Light, irregular, or missed periods

  • Large ovaries, which may feature several cysts

  • Weight gain, especially around the stomach

  • Excessive hair growth, especially on your face, chest, abdomen, and back (hirsutism)

  • Heavy bleeding whenever you get your periods

  • Acne, since male hormones tend to make the skin excessively oily, leading to acne breakouts on the upper back, face, and chest

  • Hair present on the scalp becomes thinner and eventually falls off

  • Frequent headaches

  • Darkening of patches of the skin, especially in the creased body parts like the groin, neck, or under the breasts

Diagnosis

Healthcare providers diagnose PCOS in women if they have at least two of the three main symptoms of this condition. These symptoms include:

  • Irregular periods

  • Increased levels of androgen

  • Presence of cysts in ovaries

The physician will also evaluate whether you have acne, added weight, or excessive hair growth on your face and various body parts. They may also conduct a pelvic exam, where they insert gloved fingers inside the vagina to check for any uterine or ovarian growth.

The doctor may also recommend performing a pelvic ultrasound, which utilizes sound waves to find unusual follicles and any abnormalities related to the uterus and ovaries.

In addition, they can also perform blood tests to determine whether you have normal levels of hormones, insulin, cholesterol, and triglycerides to ascertain whether you are at risk of developing more complicated conditions, like heart conditions and diabetes. 

Is there treatment for PCOS?

If you are wondering how to get pregnant quickly with PCOS, you will be happy to know that several fertility treatment options can aid in boosting ovulation. Common treatments for PCOS include:

  • Taking hormonal birth control, including shots, patches, oral tablets, intrauterine devices (IUD), or vaginal rings, which aid in regulating the menstrual cycle as well as reducing excess hair growth and acne development

  • Drugs that inhibit androgens production, which in turn reduces hair and acne development caused by PCOS

  • Lifestyle modifications, like consuming a balanced diet and exercising regularly to regulate insulin levels

  • Electrolysis and laser hair removal to get rid of excess hair growth. Your doctor may also prescribe Vaniqa (eflornithine), which decreases the rate of hair growth

It is vital to note that your doctor will prescribe a treatment option based on your symptoms, medical history, and other underlying conditions. The treatment method will also depend on whether you want to get pregnant soon.

How difficult is it to get pregnant with PCOS?

As mentioned earlier, PCOS leads to high androgen production in a woman's body. Since males have much greater volumes of androgens than women, these hormones are often viewed as male. As a result, this disrupts the menstrual cycle, increasing the chances of not getting pregnant with PCOS after 30 years old.

In fact, 70–80% of women⁴ diagnosed with PCOS face fertility complications. The condition also increases the risk of developing complications when pregnant. 

Statistics⁵ show that women with PCOS are twice as likely to deliver their baby prematurely compared to women who do not have the condition. They also have a higher chance of miscarriage, hypertension, and gestational diabetes.

How can I increase my chances of getting pregnant with PCOS?

It may take a little longer for women with PCOS to get pregnant, especially as they get older. Generally, age and fertility are closely related. The more we age, the lower the egg quantity and quality.

Reports⁶ reveal that the likelihood of spontaneous conception is almost half as likely for women between 35–39 years old as it is for women between 19–20.

So, what is the best age to get pregnant with PCOS? Studies show that the best age to get pregnant with PCOS is before 30. However, the PCOS pregnancy rate for women under 35 years is 25%⁷ within the first month.

The rate increases to 85% within the first year with proper treatment. Most PCOS treatment options for those who want to get pregnant aid in regulating hormones, metabolic processes, as well as your body mass index (BMI). Below are some standard treatment methods for PCOS for those who want to get pregnant:

Diet

Since 40–60%⁸ of women with PCOS are overweight or obese, the first line of treatment for PCOS is making lifestyle changes, like consuming a balanced diet to help lose weight. Losing 5–10%⁹ of your weight can help regulate your menstrual cycle and alleviate PCOS symptoms.

Low-carb diets are more effective in reducing insulin levels and facilitating weight loss. A diet with a low glycemic index (GI) with mostly vegetables, whole grains, and fruits aids in regulating periods. 

Exercise

A healthy diet is more effective in reducing the effects of PCOS when combined with exercise. Not only does exercising aid in reducing insulin and boosting cholesterol levels in the body, but it also minimizes the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Exercise aids in reducing insulin resistance, which plays a vital role in androgen production within the body. 

Lifestyle changes

Besides consuming a healthy diet, you must make permanent lifestyle changes, including reducing stress levels, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking. Managing other medical conditions, like diabetes, can help in minimizing the effects of PCOS.

Medication

Your doctor may also prescribe some drugs to improve the rate of ovulation. These medications include:

  • Clomiphene, an anti-estrogen drug taken at the start of your menstrual cycle

  • Femara (Letrozole) to promote ovulation

  • Metformin, a diabetes drug often prescribed if clomiphene is ineffective

If both metformin and clomiphene do not boost your rate of ovulation, the doctor may recommend an injectable drug that combines a luteinizing hormone and a follicle-stimulating hormone.

When to visit a doctor

Ensure that you visit your doctor if:

  • You have missed your period and are not pregnant

  • You have PCOS and pregnancy symptoms like excess fatigue, tender or sore breasts, lower back pain, abdominal bloating, etc., as well as other common PCOS symptoms like excessive hair growth on your body and face

  • You have been attempting to conceive for over 12 months and have an absent or irregular menstrual cycle

  • You have diabetic symptoms like sudden weight loss, blurred vision, and increased episodes of thirst or hunger

If you have been trying to conceive for some time and have been unsuccessful, it is best to consult your doctor immediately. 

The lowdown

Given that PCOS is a common cause of infertility, it is best to visit your doctor as soon as you suspect that you may have the symptoms. PCOS often interferes with the menstrual cycle, making it harder to conceive. High androgen levels can also cause undesirable symptoms, such as body and facial hair growth.

Lifestyle modifications to help you lose weight, like exercising and eating a nutritious diet, as well as managing stress, avoiding tobacco, and limiting alcohol intake, are very effective in alleviating PCOS symptoms.

If lifestyle modifications are unsuccessful, medication may be an alternative. Metformin and birth control pills may help PCOS symptoms by boosting ovulation and restoring regular menstrual periods.

Curious about clinical trials for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Researchers are studying thousands of new treatments and you could be a part of finding a cure while accessing the newest treatments for Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

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