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Getting Pregnant When You Have PCOS

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If you are given a diagnosis of PCOS by your doctor, it can be very depressing. For all that it’s one of the most common fertility issues faced by women in the UK – with an estimated 20% of women in the UK experiencing symptoms – it’s still not well understood, and can be communicated poorly by a doctor who’s not an expert. Today we’re taking a look at the condition and exploring the realities of getting pregnant when you have PCOS, to help clear away some of the fear and mystery.

PCOS Issues

First of all we have to understand the problem the condition actually poses. Part of the suite of symptoms that make up this syndrome is your body overproducing androgen. It’s typically described as a male sex hormone, but ow levels of androgen have their place in a woman’s body, doing more than 200 jobs around the endocrine system. In too high a concentration, however, this hormone can affects your menstrual cycle.

PCOS and ovulation are inextricably linked. The androgen in your system causes eggs to mature slowly, meaning ovulation might be delayed from your usual cycle and hard to predict. In some cases, PCOS causes you to skip ovulating altogether. The eggs remain in the ovary, suspended before maturity as the ‘cysts’ that give the syndrome its name.

Stimulating Ovulation

The most important thing you can do to give yourself better chances of getting pregnant when you have PCOS is encouraging your body to ovulate on a more regular schedule. There are fertility drugs that can help with this, but they also come with a list of side effects, and can have a dramatic effect on your mood so they may not be the right solution for you.

One of the things that can really help is losing some of the weight that PCOS causes you to gain. Because PCOS is ultimately driven by overproduction of insulin, insulin resistance and weight gain are two of the symptoms, but if you can address these symptoms, you can actually reduce the grip PCOS has on your body.

Reversing the weight gain encourages your body to reduce its level of insulin production – this makes losing more weight in future easier, and for many women this step is enough to stimulate regular, spontaneous (eg. without medical intervention) ovulation. If you combine this weight loss with techniques like BBT tracking to identify ovulation, you can boost your chances of conceiving naturally, even with PCOS!

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